NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Chinese resources company Qiao Universal Resources Inc. on Friday reported a return to profit in the first half of the year as sharply lower costs offset a downturn in sales.

"We are pleased to return to profitability following our efforts to strategically transform the company into a resources-focused enterprise," said Chairman and CEO Ruilin Wu, in a statement. The company had been a major maker of telecommunication terminal products in China, but decided in 2007 to diversify into the resources industry. Wu said the company is looking to privatize its Qiao Xing Mobile Communication Co. business and is making steady progress in acquiring molybdenum, copper, lead and zinc mines.

The company said it earned 100.6 million yuan ($14.8 million), or 1.12 per share (17 cents per share) in the six months ended June 30, compared with a loss of 184.1 million yuan during the first six months of 2010. The company's year-ago results were hurt by higher operating costs and losses on now-discontinued operations.

Revenue fell to 465.9 million yuan ($68.7 million) from 1.05 billion yuan. Revenue from the telecommunications business fell to 324 million yuan ($47.8 million) from 1.04 billion yuan. Handset shipments fell to 621,000 units from just under 1.6 million units, accounting for the lower unit revenue, the company said.

"The decrease in handset shipments was primarily due to fewer new model launches and a slow-down in shipments amid intense competition in the PRC handset market," the company said in a statement.

During the first half, molybdenum concentrate production was 1,550 tons, equivalent to 746 tons of molybdenum metal, which can withstand extreme temperatures. It is often used in aircraft and industrial parts.

Looking ahead, the company said it expects continued growth from its Haozhou Molybdenum Mining business, which may grow eventually to contribute over $24 million profit in 2011. The company also expects to complete its acquisition of Balinzuo Banner Xinyuan Mining Co. Ltd, which owns a lead-zinc mine in China.

As of June 30, the company said it had $538.2 million in cash and cash equivalents and $519.5 million in working capital.

Shares were up a penny at $1.58 in morning trading.

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