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HK: Hutchison earnings up August 25, 2006

Posted by Jasper in Mobile.

In a previous post I quoted speculations that Hutchison 3G business might be at a turning point. No luck it would seem. Yesterday Hutchison Whampoa reported a doubling of its first half earnings, but this was lifted by a one-time gain from the sale of a stake in its ports business.

Hutchison said its 3G operations lost HK$11.99 billion in the first half before interest and taxes, down from a HK$20.02 billion loss a year earlier. The company said it does not expect its 3G operations to break even this year on an EBITDA accounting basis, despite an earlier pledge.

In Australia, Hutchison said Wednesday its first half net loss widened after it took a writedown as it switched off its CDMA network. However, revenue rose slightly. Its 3G customer base grew by 390,000 subscribers during the half, including 256,000 customers moved over from its CDMA network. It had a total of 1.044 million customers at the end of the reporting period, of which 88.3% were post-paid subscribers. An improvement in EBITDA is expected in the second half of the year.

In terms of the whole 3G Group Hutchison now expects its to break even during the first half of 2007.

Shares of Hutchison fell 1.9% to HK$72.50 in mid-afternoon Hong Kong trading.



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