Hutch not selling European 3G operations

Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa denied a newspaper report saying the conglomerate may sell its 3G mobile operations in Europe, an Associated Press report said.

'We definitely have no plan to sell our 3G operations,' Hutchison Whampoa spokeswoman Laura Cheung was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

The Ming Pao Daily cited an unidentified person familiar with the situation as saying the company is in talks to co-operate with France Telecom's unit Orange, the report said.

One possible outcome of the talks may be the complete sale of Hutchison's European 3G operations to the company, the report said.

Shares of the company, the telecommunications flagship of tycoon Li Ka-shing, jumped 3.8% to end at HK$74.40 ($9.55) after sharply underperforming the broader market so far this year.

Traders said investors would welcome a sale because disposal of the company's 3G operations would remove uncertainty from the stock, the Associated Press report said

Last week, Hutchison Whampoa's managing director Canning Fok said the 'chance has gone' for the company to spin off its 3G mobile businesses.

Fok had denied market speculation that Hutchison Whampoa may sell its 3 UK unit to Vodafone Group, after the CEO of Vodafone expressed interest in buying some 3 UK assets.