Hutch hits Indian obstacle

Hutchison Whampoa’s emerging markets spin off, Hutchison Telecoms International Ltd. (HTIL), turned a profit during the first half of the year, the company said Wednesday. Profit for the six month period reached HK$644m (£43.6m), up from a loss of HK$220m last year. Turnover increased 48 per cent to HK$15.6bn, compared to HK$10.6bn in the same period last year.

During the first half of the year, the operation in Thailand achieved positive EBITDA and the Hong Kong unit returned to operating profit. But the increase in turnover was driven primarily by the growth in India, which contributed 45 per cent of the group’s turnover.

Hutchison plans to spin off the operation’s Indian activities separately, but the company is presently at loggerheads with joint venture partner Essar.

Indian operator Essar had previously agreed to sell its Mumbai operation, BPL, to joint venture Hutchison Essar, held 67 per cent by HTIL and 33 per cent by Essar. But Essar has since terminated the agreement citing Hutchison Essar’s lack of government approval. Hutchison still appears confident a deal will go ahead however.

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