China's biggest producer of polyester, Sinopec Yizheng Chemical Fibre Co, on Friday posted an 87.8 per cent plunge in first half net profit from the same period of last year.

The company cited weak demand caused by the SARS outbreak for the fall in six month profit to 6.85 million yuan (US$827,000) from 56.28 million yuan in the year prior.

It added finance costs soared to 42.1 million yuan from 9.6 million yuan last year but did not immediately say why.

Earlier this year the company announced plans to axe 3,000 jobs by 2005.