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HPH likely to shoulder Li's telecom losses for another year

HPH likely to shoulder Li's telecom losses for another year

Hong Kong: Hutchison Whampoa chairman Li Ka-shing (pictured) expects his 3G business to break even on an operational basis next year, as opposed to his earlier target of this year.
At Hutchison's annual results announcement last March, the tycoon had said management would continue to aim for positive monthly earnings before interest and taxes (ebit) within this year.
However, at a company dinner last week, Mr Li changed his forecast to breaking even on the ebit level only by next year.
"Our 3G business will turn a new page in 2008, on a path to achieving positive full-year cash flow and positive ebit in 2009," he said.
According to Hutchison's interim results for the six months to last June, losses in 3G narrowed 6 per cent to HK$11.32 billion, from HK$11.99 billion a year ago.
The extraordinary expense of establishing his 3G network has often been supplemented by Hutchison Port Holdings, Mr Li's stalwart cash cow. In order to gain fast cash 18 months ago Mr Li offloaded 20% of HPH to PSA International, to keep shareholders in Hutchison Whampoa hapy. Similarly, just last month Mr Li cashed most of his shiping line shares to bolster his coffers. [07/01/08]

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