Hutch to spin off HK telecom business

Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL) plans to spin off its Hong Kong fixed and mobile businesses for an IPO later this year.

The offering could yield as much as HK$2 billion ($257m), analysts told

Analysts said the IPO would allow Li, Asia's richest man, to cash out of the Hong Kong telecom business.

HTIL is already cashed-up, having realized a HK$70.5 billion gain last year from the sale of its stake in Indian operator Essar to Vodafone.

HTIL runs Hong Kong's biggest mobile operator, 3, and second-biggest fixed-line operator, HGC as well as the 2G and 3G operations in Indonesia, Israel, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Ghana.

The Hong Kong assets are worth between HK$10-$12 billion, but analysts noted that growth prospects were limited in the territory, with a declining fixed-line segment and official mobile penetration of 160%.

HTIL last year reported turnover of HK$4.78 billion on its Hong Kong and Macau mobile businesses, with Ebitda of HK$1.57 billion.

HTIL is due to report its annual result in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Hutchison Australia last month announced it would merge with rival Vodafone.