Taiwan Cement Corp (台灣水泥) on Tuesday reported that net income in the first half of this year climbed 11.71 percent annually to NT$11.18 billion (US$356 million), as contributions from its coal-fired Ho-Ping Power Plant in Hualien County offset lower cement sales in southern China.

The figure translated into earnings per share (EPS) of NT$2.19, up from NT$2.14 a year earlier.

However, gross margin slipped by 0.06 percentage points to 27.87 percent and revenue fell 1.36 percent to NT$56.72 billion.

Taiwan Cement said it remains positive about the second half, as the rainy season is over, which could boost cement demand and prices.

The company said it plans to invest NT$1.05 billion on its new lithium-ion battery unit, TCC Recycle Energy Technology Corp (台泥循環能源), later this year.

TCC Recycle plans to issue 100 million new common shares to raise its paid-in capital to NT$6.66 billion, with Taiwan Cement aiming to buy 32.4 million shares, while another subsidiary, International CSRC Investment Holdings Co (國際中橡投資控股), would buy 67.6 million shares, the company said.

“The investment gives us more flexibility for further expansion in our lithium-ion batteries business,” a company official said by telephone yesterday.

Separately, Asia Cement Corp (亞洲水泥) yesterday reported that net income soared 46.45 percent annually to NT$9.12 billion in the first half, while EPS increased from NT$1.98 to NT$2.91, thanks to record-high profits generated by its Chinese operations.

Gross margin improved by 5.15 percentage points to 29.07 percent, and revenue climbed 12.29 percent to NT$43.81 billion over the period, the company said in a statement.