Hutchison HK unit doubles profit

Nicole McCormick
09 Mar 2010

Hutchison Telecom’s Hong Kong and Macau operations have more than doubled net profit in their first full year since being spun off.

Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong (HTHK), which listed on the Hong Kong bourse last May, recorded a 104% surge in net profit to HK$468 million ($60m) in 2009.

The rise in net income was mainly due to a change in accounting policy that resulted in the firm restating its FY08 earnings downward by HK$200 million.

Stripping out the impact from the change in accounting policy, 2009 net income grew 20% year on year to HK$468 million.

The income figure was below some analysts’ expectations.

Operating profit also came in under expectattions at HK$787 million vs. HK$508 million in 2008.

The higher operating profit was mainly attributable “to a steady turnover growth” – consolidated turnover grew 4% to HK$8.45 billion - coupled with “effective cost management,” said the firm.

CEO Peter Wong said: “During a challenging and competitive year, we achieved steady growth….as well as solid progress in network rollout.

“Our 3 brand continues to stay ahead as the top 3G service provider in Hong Kong and the second largest mobile operator in Macau.”

He said the upgraded fiber-to-the-building network and advanced global voice-data-IP network, also helped Hutchison Global Communications “command a prominent market share in the fixed-line industry.”

Fixed-line ebitda was up 4% to HK$1.03 billion on 6% higher turnover of HK$3.22 billion.

Hong Kong and Macau mobile ebitda rose 14% to HK$1.14 billion, on a 3.4% increase in turnover to HK$5.58 billion.

Data service revenue grew by more than 50% to an undisclosed amount.

Total mobile customers in Hong Kong and Macau grew 10% to around 3 million, with “over 1.4 million 3G customers” reported by 3 Hong Kong.

“Mobile revenue growth slowed down to 3.4%, compared to 13% in FY08,” said Credit Suisse.

“Although mobile data revenue growth remains robust at 54% year on year, mobile voice and roaming revenue declined by 13% and 10% respectively, which we believe was due to economic slowdown and tough market competition.”

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