Hutchison Whampoa is to sell shares in its Italian wireless business H3G Italia as part of its plans to recoup some of the USD22 billion it has invested in its 3G operators worldwide. Hutch, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing has applied to list shares of H3G on the Italian exchange, and plans to sell as much as 25% of the company in the hope of raising up to EUR2.5 billion (USD3.04 billion).
H3G Italia received a UMTS licence in October 2000. It immediately embarked on a rapid rollout programme and announced plans to launch commercial services under the banner 3 by the end of 2002. However, following a string of technical teething problems and delays in handset deliveries, the network only finally launched in March 2003.