Richard Li

PCCW spin-off still up in the air, says TV 'star' Li

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 November, 2011, 12:00am


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The proposed listing of PCCW's telecommunications arm as a business trust is still up in the air because of the current market gyrations, chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai said yesterday.

Asked on the spin-off timetable, he said it would be at a 'proper' time. On whether there is chance of it happening this year, he said: 'It depends on the market conditions.' It would be the first listing of its kind in Hong Kong. PCCW's minority shareholders approved the plan on October 13.

Li was at the 2011 Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa) convention, where he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award. He turns 45 next week.

Casbaa chairman Marcel Fenez called Li 'a founder and a pioneer of the pay television industry ... Not only was he a pioneer once, he was a pioneer twice,' said Fenez.

Li started Star TV and then set up the internet-based pay-television service, Now TV. PCCW is trying to expand into free-to-air television.

PCCW's stock has been declining steadily since its merger with Cable & Wireless HKT in 2000. Its shares fell 1 per cent yesterday to close at HK$3.11, on a day the Hang Seng Index rose 1.88 per cent.

Li was optimistic. 'This is really an exciting time for our industry,' he said. 'Asia has global importance that has not been seen for centuries. Our industry has been growing well in the past 20 years on the back of that. I honestly do not see any reason why that should subside in the next 20 years.'

The younger son of tycoon Li Ka-shing attributed the award to his team. 'When one is honouring a movie star, are you really honouring a great actor or a great actress. But when you are honouring an executive in our industry, you are really honouring a team.'

Joking about his age, he said: 'I will be 45 in a few days. My buddies told me this is the pinnacle age of a midlife crisis.'