Hutchison Telecom International (HTIL) has announced that its shares have been suspended in lieu of a “possible general offer” being made by the firm’s majority shareholder, Hutchison Whampoa.
“[HTIL] understands that an announcement on the subject pursuant to the Takeovers Code may be imminent,” HTIL said.
The move to privatise HTIL, which is 60.4%-owned by Hutchison Whampoa, was widely anticipated as the once asset-rich firm has been whittled down to a few unprofitable mobile assets in the region.
“Apart from cash, HTIL doesn’t have other assets except start-up operations in Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka,” said an analyst. “The privatization is neutral to Hutchison as it is just buying back the cash.”
HWL began monetizing HTIL’s assets in February 2007 when it agreed to sell its 67% interest in Indian mobile firm Hutchison Essar (now Vodafone India) for a whopping US$11.1 billion (€7.69b).
In May 2009, HTIL also successfully spun off its profitable Hong Kong and Macau operations into a new firm, Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong (HTHK), which was subsequently re-listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Then in October 2009, HTIL divested its 51.3% stake in Israeli mobile firm Partner Communications to Scailex Corp. for US$1.38 billion in cash and debt.
And in late-2009, the firm agreed in principle to sell its 75% stake in Thai provincial CDMA operator Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia to existing shareholder CAT Telecom. The price is still to be finalized, but the price tag is reportedly expected to be in the range of 5-7.5 billion baht ($150-225 million).