Hong Kong's Hutch pushes back 3G targets

Hutchison Whampoa, tycoon Li Ka-shing's ports-to-telecoms flagship, has pushed back the break-even targets for its 3G mobile telecoms business to next year, a Hong Kong newspaper, quoted by a Reuters report, said.

The Reuters report quoted Hutchison as saying that last August it expected its 3G business to achieve positive monthly earnings before interest and taxes on a sustainable basis in 2008, barring unfavourable regulatory and market changes.

However, Li forecast the breaking even on the EBIT level would only be achieved next year, the South China Morning Post said.

'Our 3G business will turn a new page in 2008, on a path to achieving positive full-year cash flow and positive EBIT in 2009,' Li was quoted as saying.

Hutchison has been the most aggressive investor in European 3G mobile telecoms, but profits have been elusive amid fierce competition. Its $25 billion bet on high-speed mobile phones has been a drag on its share price for several years.

But Li believed the Hutchison's investment across the globe are all sound and heading in positive direction, the newspaper said.