China Gas Income Surges as Demand for Cleaner Fuel Rises

China Gas Holdings Ltd., which supplies natural gas to 208 cities in Asia’s biggest economy, said half-year profit gained 59 percent as demand for the cleaner-burning fuel rose. Its shares rose to a record.

Net income climbed to HK$1.28 billion ($165 million), or 26.14 cents a share, in the six months ended Sept. 30 from HK$808.2 million, or 17 cents, a year ago, according to a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. Revenue rose 46 percent to HK$10.5 billion.

Air pollution in major Chinese cities including Beijing and Tianjin exceeded hazardous levels several times this year, prompting the government to take measures to curb the burning of coal and encourage the use of natural gas. China Gas may sell as much as 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2020 from an estimated 8 billion cubic meters this year, Chief Financial Officer Eric Leung said last month.

China Gas rose as much as 5 percent in Hong Kong trading and was up 4.7 percent at HK$9.73 as of 9:38 a.m., the highest level since the company’s listing in 1996. The shares have advanced 60 percent this year, compared with a 4.5 percent gain in the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Revenue from piped gas sales rose to HK$4.3 billion in the six months from HK$3.04 billion a year earlier, according to the statement. Revenue from gas connections increased to HK$2.01 billion from HK$1.23 billion.

China Gas expects to supply gas to 300 cities by 2015, Leung told reporters in Hong Kong yesterday.

The company will pay an interim dividend of 2.2 cents per share, according to the statement.

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