Hutchison Whampoa’s (HWL’s) 3G mobile division, 3 Group, has reported a 66% year-on-year improvement in EBITDA loss for the six months ended 30 June 2009 to HKD1.81 billion (USD234 million), mainly due to a gain of HKD3.64 billion resulting from the merger of 3 Australia with Vodafone Australia, completed in June. Meanwhile, HWL’s 60%-owned subsidiary Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL) announced turnover for the period of HKD6.41 billion, a 20% decrease over the same period last year, and a loss attributable to shareholders of HKD285 million, compared to a profit of HKD1.165 billion in the first half of 2008. The decrease reflects the spin-off of Hong Kong and Macau operations under the holding company Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Ltd (HTHKH) in May 2009, as well as start-up losses incurred as HTIL builds its businesses in Indonesia and Vietnam. At 30 June 2009 HTIL announced a consolidated active mobile customer base of 10.5 million, a 43% year-on-year increase. The reported total excludes Thailand, where HTIL plans to offload its operations to joint venture partner CAT Telecom once the two can agree terms. HTIL also announced this week that it has agreed to sell its 51% stake in Israel’s Partner Communications to local handset distributor Scailex Corp for USD1.38 billion.
Hong Kong and Macau holding group HTHKH, a 60.4%-owned subsidiary of HWL, reported turnover and profit attributable to shareholders for the first half of 2009 of HKD4.10 billion and HKD256 million respectively, an 8% and 4% increase over the same period last year. At 30 June 2009, HTHKH announced a consolidated mobile active customer base of over 2.7 million, of which 1.4 million were 3G customers.
HWL’s registered 3G customer base, including 3G customers of 3 Group, HTHKH and HTIL, increased 25% during the period and currently stands at over 25.3 million, reflecting continued organic growth as well as the merger with Vodafone Australia. 3 Group’s customer base includes over 3.8 million mobile broadband access customers, a 170% increase from the same period last year.
Parent HWL’s consolidated six-month net profit fell 33% to HKD5.76 billion as the economic downturn hit its oil, ports and hotel businesses, on total revenues that dropped 20% to HKD141 billion.