Hong Kong's Hutchison swings to profit

Hong Kong group Hutchison Telecommunications International swung to a net profit in the first quarter, an Associated Press report said.

The results were also due to good operating performance in Israel and the continuing strength of the Israeli shekel against the Hong Kong dollar, the Reuters report added.

The Hong Kong-listed company said its net profit for the three months ended March 31 was HK$310 million (US$39.7 million; €25.66 million), a turnaround from a net loss of HK$236 million a year earlier. It didn't issue first-quarter revenue figures.

The telecom services operator said subscribers to its mobile-phone services rose 59% to 10 million at the end of March, from 6.3 million a year earlier.

The company operates second-generation mobile-phone services in Hong Kong, Thailand, Israel, Macau, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam, and 3G services in Israel and Hong Kong. It also has a fixed-line business in Hong Kong.

The company, 59.33 %-owned by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa, said its mobile subscribers in Israel rose 4% to 2.8 million at the end of March, from 2.7 million a year earlier.

In the first quarter, its average revenue per user in Israel rose 1.3% to 155 Israeli shekels (US$45.51; €29.35) from 153 shekels on growth in its third-generation mobile customer base.

The company said its subscriber base in Indonesia and Sri Lanka also increased, the Reuters report further said.