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Hutchison to take emerging markets operation private

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Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa has announced plans to take its emerging markets spin off, Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTIL), private with a $545m offer.

HTIL was listed in October 2004, comprising an eclectic mix of 2G and fixed-line emerging markets operations in India, Thailand, Israel, Macau, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Paraguay and 2G and 3G operations in the competitive Hong Kong market. The outfit subsequently offloaded its Indian and Israel operations and spun off of its Hong Kong and Macau businesses using the money from the floatation to offset its sizeable losses attributable to the start up costs of its 3G operations.

In this latest move, Hutch is planning to buy the remaining 39.6 per cent stake in HTIL it does not already own. “HTIL now has operations in four countries [Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Thailand], none of which is amongst the top three operators in their respective markets and all of which generate negative cash flow,” the firm said, suggesting that it thinks it would be better off building the operations up as private assets before offloading them.

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