PCCW has reportedly received approval from the Hong Kong stock exchange for its plan to raise up to USD2 billion by spinning off and listing its core telecoms assets as a business trust, reports Dow Jones Newswires. However, the operator still requires shareholder approval for the proposal, and the telco has released a statement prompted by the media reports warning shareholders and potential investors that ‘there is no assurance that the proposed spin-off will necessarily proceed.’ Its statement confirmed that: ‘on 8 September 2011 the Listing Committee reviewed the application for the separate listing of the telecommunications business on the stock exchange. The proposed spin-off would constitute a major transaction for the company under the listing rules and would, therefore, be subject to shareholders’ approval. It is anticipated that a further announcement would be made, and a circular despatched to shareholders, as soon as practicable.’
PCCW announced on 2 June 2011 that the stock exchange had approved its spin-off application. Since that date, it has continued to work with the stock exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission to finalise an acceptable listing structure that would operate within Hong Kong’s existing regulatory framework. PCCW would hold greater than or equal to 55% of total shares, but via a ‘trustee manager’ and the ‘HKT Trust’, to be listed on the Hong Kong bourse. As the HKT Trust is not a legal entity, all of the trust property, being the assets of the HKT Trust, will be held by the trustee-manager for the benefit of the registered holders of ‘units’ (held by investors in the business trust – ‘unitholders’ – instead of shares).