HTIL reports strong first half growth

19 Aug 2008

Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited (HTIL)’s consolidated revenues increased by 22% year-on-year to HKD11.76 billion (USD1.5 billion) in the first half of 2008, the Hong Kong-based group has reported in a press release. Operating profit for the six months to the end of June was HKD2.281 billion, up 174.2% compared to 1H 2007, after one-off gains of HKD1.46 billion which arose principally from Indonesian operations which gained HKD731 million from the first tranche of a wireless tower sale and HKD732 million in compensation from a network supplier. Excluding the one-off gains and some accelerated depreciation charges in Israel and Vietnam, like-for-like growth in the Hutchison Whampoa subsidiary’s operating profit was 35.0%. As a result, net profit from continuing operations in the period surged to HKD1.96 billion compared to HKD341 million in the first half of 2007. The group’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 14.7% y-o-y to HKD3.22 billion, with growth particularly strong in Israel and Hong Kong; the EBITDA margin was 27.4% in the first six months of 2008, a 1.8% decline on the same period last year reflecting higher network expenses from expansion of operations in emerging markets Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

HTIL’s consolidated mobile customer base grew 68% in the twelve months to the end of June 2008 to 11.1 million, with a significant percentage of the increase attributed to Indonesian subsidiary Hutchison CP Telecommunications (HCPT), which launched services in March 2007. HCPT’s mobile user base reached 3.2 million at 30 June 2008, following 872,000 net additions in April-June alone. The group registered more than two million 3G customers worldwide by mid-2008, driven mainly by subscriber growth in Israel and Hong Kong.

Combined six-month turnover from HTIL’s Hong Kong (including Macau) fixed line and mobile business was HKD3.75 billion, a 6.5% increase year-on-year. EBITDA at the domestic unit went up 11.8% to HKD1.38 billion and the EBITDA margin was 36.9%. In the second quarter of 2008 the unit registered 80,000 net mobile customer additions of which 77,000 were 3G mobile users, taking the total subscriber base to 2.6 million. On 25 July 2008 HTIL completed the acquisition of a 5% stake in its 2G and 3G businesses in Hong Kong and Macau from NEC Corporation, taking the group’s ownership in these businesses from 70.9% to 75.9%.

In Vietnam, Hutchison reported that its mobile partnership with state-run Hanoi Telecom Company, HT Mobile, had made ‘good progress’ in its ongoing project to switch from CDMA technology to a new GSM network. It has completed the selection of network vendors and is aiming to get the network ready for its target launch by the end of 2008.