Former Hong Kong monopoly Pacific Century Cyberworks (PCCW) has returned to profit in the six months to the end of June 2003 although its undersea cable joint venture, Reach, pulled earnings down to well below expectations as it witnessed its own EBITDA plunge from HKD1.63 billion to HKD289 million in a year. PCCW’s net profit stood at HKD703 million (USD90.1 million) at the end of June, up from HKD448 million a year earlier, but below expectations of HKD1.1 billion. The telco said it was caught off guard by the poor performance of Reach, and has recently launched a range of new services in a bid to cut the losses.
Meanwhile PCCW chief executive Jack So has requested that the Hong Kong government ease regulatory restrictions, claiming that competition in the country is stunting its growth. In particular the telco wants the compulsory unbundling requirement, which enables its competitors to benefit from investments made in its own network, to be abolished. It is not clear whether the government will consider PCCW’s request.