Hutch post 40% increase in profits

Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa said its 2006 net profit surged 40%, helped by narrowing losses in its 3G mobile phone business, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report sad the company, run by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, said it is still aiming to turn around its 3G operation during the first-half of this year.

Hutchison posted a net profit of HK$20.03 billion ($2.56 billion) for the year ended December 31, 2006 , up from HK$14.34 billion ($1.8 billion) in 2005, the report said.

Total revenue rose 11 % to HK$267.6 billion ($34.3 billion) from HK$241.86 billion ($30.9 billion) in the previous year.

The conglomerate's businesses include ports, retail, property, energy and infrastructure, as well as a unit Hutchison Telecommunications International, the report said.

The report said Hutchison's 3G operations meanwhile posted a loss before interest and tax of HK$20 billion ($2.56 billion), in line with analysts' expectations. The company's 3G loss in 2005, before interest and tax, was HK$36.28 billion ($4.6 billion) in 2005.

Hutchison, which has 3G operations in the UK, Italy, Australia, Austria, Hong Kong and Sweden, said it now has over 14.7 million 3G subscribers globally, up 30% during the year, the report further said.

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