Hutchison Whampoa profit drops 63%

Hong Kong Tycoon Li Ka-shing's conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa reported a 63% drop in first-half earnings, but still beat expectations thanks to shrinking telecom losses and better income from its energy and port businesses.

An Associated Press report also said net income for the six months ended June 30 was HK$10.69 billion (€862 million, US$1.37 billion) compared with HK$28.76 billion (€2.4 billion) in the same period last year, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Revenue climbed 24% to HK$176.2 billion (€15.5 billion,US$22.6 billion), the Associated Press report said.

Many analysts had expected the company, a sprawling conglomerate with retail, property, energy, infrastructure and telecom operations in 57 countries, _ to post half-year earnings below HK$10 billion (€861 million,US$1.2 billion).

Li, Hutchison's chairman, argued the company could fare well even in tough economic times because it operated in so many locations.

The company, though, was helped by improving performance at its 3G mobile business, known as the 3 Group.