A senior official of a Hong Kong-based key supplier of Timberland boots on Wednesday said he expected net profit to fall nearly nine per cent this fiscal year as the global slowdown hits margins.

Daniel Chan, executive director of Kingmaker Footwear Holdings Ltd, told Reuters in an interview his firm will probably post "flat turnover" for the full year to March 2002.

He added he expects Kingmaker's net profits to reflect growth only for the year ending in March 2004 but said that orders for calendar 2002 have risen more than 10 per cent from last year.

"After September 11, we all suffered from margin pressure, so the fall in net profits should be more than the interim (profit) fall," he told Reuters.

Kingmaker, which makes the majority the of its shoes in China, reported in December an 8.8 per cent drop to HK$75.11 million in net profits for the six months to September 30.

Turnover for the period rose 8.2 per cent to HK$629.96m compared to the year-ago period.