Hutchison sell-off to feed 3 cash burn

Aims to raise $1bn in IPO...
Written by Ron Coates, Contributor on

Aims to raise $1bn in IPO...

Hutchison is bundling its non-3G interests for an IPO to raise cash for its loss-making 3 business unit.

The conglomerate's fixed and mobile interests in Hong Kong and its share of ventures in India, Macau, Israel, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Paraguay are to be bundled together into Hutchison International Telecoms (HIT), according to a filing yesterday with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Hutchison has not committed to a date for the IPO and will retain a majority stake in what analysts estimate should be a $4bn company, set to bring Li Ka-Shing's conglomerate about $1bn in cash.

Hutchison will split the world with its new autonomous subsidiary, hanging on to Western Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia. It describes these as "established markets with distinct management and risk profiles" from the rest of the world territory allotted to HIT.

HIT will be left to "capitalise on attractive growth opportunities" in its markets and is to get an option to buy Hutchison's interests in Argentina.

Hutchison will be handing over about 10 million customers and $1.5bn revenue to the new company. The Hong Kong operations are well-established and its minority interest in Orange in Israel, with 2.2 million users, is more than promising.

The Indian mobile operations cover 19 of India's 23 mobile telephone areas.

Hutchison recently reported that its 3 networks in the UK and Italy lost $2.3bn before tax last year.

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