PCCW plans to expand production of pay-television programmes and further develop its information-technology services business, as it posted solid interim results following the spin-off of its telecommunications unit.
The company, which is controlled by billionaire Richard Li Tzar-kai, reported yesterday that its consolidated first-half net profit edged up to HK$836 million from HK$824 million a year earlier.
Managing director George Chan Ching-cheong said that gain was underpinned by the strong performance during the period of subsidiary HKT, Hong Kong's biggest fixed-line network operator that was separately listed as a business trust in November. He said PCCW's media and solutions businesses recorded moderate growth.
Total first-half revenue from its core media, telecoms and information-technology services units improved modestly to HK$11.06 billion from HK$10.94 billion the previous year. PCCW owns a 63 per cent interest in HKT Trust and operating arm HKT, which announced on Thursday a 2 per cent rise in revenue to HK$9.71 billion from HK$9.54 billion a year ago.
Chief financial officer Susanna Hui Hon-hing said the first-half revenue of PCCW's property-related business, under Pacific Century Premium Developments, was down to HK$848 million from the previous year's HK$1.25 billion. She said there was only one flat left unsold from PCPD's Villa Bel Air residential development in Pok Fu Lam.
PCCW's core first-half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation - a measure of profitability - increased 4 per cent to HK$3.67 billion from a year ago.
Macquarie Securities analyst Lisa Soh gave an 'outperform' recommendation to PCCW stock, based on the prospects of its Now TV and PCCW Solutions business units.
Chan said: 'With our own production and co-production [ventures], we are building a library with content that can be distributed to overseas Chinese markets.'
Discussions were under way between PCCW and various pay-television operators and distributors to tap into that opportunity, he said.
Chan pointed out that PCCW was now redeveloping an old Hong Kong industrial site into a modern, 97,000 sq ft data centre for PCCW Solutions, which has operations in Hong Kong and on the mainland.
This business unit recorded HK$647 million worth of project backlogs at the end of June, which created the need for additional infrastructure and staff.
PCCW's share price was down 1.92 per cent at HK$3.06 yesterday.