Hutchison reports improved performance

Pan-Asian operator Hutchison Telecom International has posted a much-improved first half performance as well as a massive $9 billion war-chest.

HTIL recorded a net profit of HK$70.8 billion ($9.1 billion), of which HK$69.3 billion derived from the sale of its stake in Indian operator Essar to Vodafone.  CEO Dennis Lui said the company was looking for new acquisitions and flagged Hutchison's interest in the looming mainland 3G market.

Stripping out the gain Essar, HTIL boosted its first-half operating profit 54% to HK$828 million on 12.3% higher turnover of HK$9.6 billion.

EBITDA margin increased 15% year-on-year to HK$2.8 billion, led by improvements in its two biggest operations in Hong Kong and Israel.  The company said it would pay a dividend of at least 30% of net profit attributable to shareholders.

 HTIL, listed on the HKSE and NYSE, manages mobile operators in seven Asian markets.

Lui said Hutchison would "definitely consider" investing in a mainland telco, the scmp.com reported.  "We can be involved in management and operation as we don't want to be just an investor."

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