Hutch denies Oz sale talk

22 May 2006

Hutchison Whampoa Chairman Li Ka-shing has said that the group has no plans ‘at this stage’ to float its loss-making Australian mobile unit. Earlier this month it was reported that Hutch was considering the privatisation of Hutchison Telecommunications Australia (HTA), which owns 81% of 3G provider Hutchison 3G Australia (H3G). However, during Hutch’s annual general meeting, Li said the group does not have any plans to place company shares to raise funds. 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. HTA’s chief financial officer David Dyson had 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.