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23.02.2007 Business & Finance

Hutchison Telecom to re-invest $5 Billion

By The Chronicle

Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd., a majority shareholder in Kasapa Telecommunication Company in Ghana, said it will invest $5 billion from the sale of its Indian unit in new and existing businesses and pay shareholders a special dividend of HK$6.75.

The mobile-phone company, controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, will also pay back $1.8 billion of debt from proceeds of the $11.1 billion sale of its 67 percent stake in Hutchison Essar Ltd. to Vodafone Group Plc. Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom divulged the information in a statement on its web site.

The company will add investments in markets including Indonesia and Vietnam to replace the loss of future revenue from India, its biggest and fastest-growing business. The company's stock has fallen eight percent since Feb. 12, when the planned sale was announced, on concern over earnings prospects.

Hutchison Telecom's operating profit of HK$3.6 billion ($461 million) in the first nine months last year included HK$2.61 billion earned by Hutchison Essar, according to a statement filed to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday.

Outside India and Israel, Hutchison Telecom operates mobile-phone units in Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam and Ghana. These businesses posted a combined operating loss of HK$286 ($36.62m) million in the nine months ended Sep. 30, the statement said.