Handset shortage to cost Hutch EUR2 billion

4 Dec 2003

A delay in the delivery of three million 3G handsets to its European operations could cost Hutchison 3G as much as EUR2 billion. The delay will mean that Hutchison will not be able to launch its low-cost pay-as-you-go service prior to the peak Christmas selling period, and will instead have to postpone the launch until the first quarter of 2004. According to Frank Sixt, Hutchison’s Finance Director, the extra expenditure will take the company’s 3G bill to EUR20 billion and could increase its funding requirements in the future. The delay has already forced the group to scrap it target of reaching two million customers in the UK and Italy by the end of 2003 and put the division’s break-even projection back a year to 2006.