Hutch mulling privatisation of Oz business, papers say

12 May 2006

Hutchison Whampoa is reportedly considering the privatisation of its loss-making Australian mobile unit Hutchison Telecommunications Australia (HTA), which owns 81% of 3G provider Hutchison 3G Australia (H3G), according to the South China Morning Post citing the company’s chief financial officer David Dyson. Hutch chairman Canning Fok had previously stated that the group would review HTA’s capital structure, after its share price failed to respond to its recent improved performance. Dyson has now been quoted as saying that privatising the unit or converting an AUD600 million (USD466 million) convertible note due in 2007 into HTA shares were two options being investigated.

Hutch is concentrating its efforts on establishing its Australian business as a 3G market leader. Earlier this week it announced that it would shut down HTA’s 2G CDMA network on 9 August, following successful migration of HTA customers to H3G, which offers services under the brand name ‘3’.