Hutchison Whampoa has set a new deadline of 19 January for investors to register their interest in taking shares in its Italian mobile operator H3G Italia. The original deadline of 22 November 2005 was postponed after Hutch suffered delays in obtaining approval from the Hong Kong stock exchange to list H3G Italia on the Italian bourse. The approval still hangs in the balance and the Hong Kong based conglomerate says that the listing still ‘may or may not proceed’ dependent on approvals from the Italian authorities and market conditions. It did not elaborate.
The deal is reportedly coming under heavier-than-expected scrutiny from the stock market watchdog, though the group remains confident of a listing before the end of the first quarter of the year. The IPO of the Italian wireless business is part of Hutch’s 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, plans to sell as much as 25% of the company in the hope of raising up to EUR2.5 billion (USD3.04 billion). Existing Hutchison Whampoa shareholders will be given preferential rights to H3G Italia shares.