State Council-controlled China Everbright Holdings says it has sold its 7.6 per cent stake in Hongkong Telecom in a bid to avoid potential competition among its telecoms investments. China Everbright is reaping $12.8 billion from the sale of 904.68 million shares to the unlisted mainland parent of China Telecom (Hong Kong). This will boost the China Telecom (Hong Kong) Group's holding in the SAR's biggest telecoms firm to 13 per cent. The book profit for China Everbright will be $1.41 billion after it paid $11.39 billion last May for the investment from Citic Pacific. China Telecom (Hong Kong) Group is an investment arm of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the mainland's telecoms monopoly that owns the listed China Telecom (Hong Kong). China Everbright spokesman Shao Zhengkang yesterday dismissed suggestions the deal was politically motivated. 'We have interests in China Unicom and China Telecom (Hong Kong) as well as Hongkong Telecom. In order that these investments will not compete with each other, we have had to make a sacrifice.' China Everbright has a 6.67 per cent stake in China Unicom - formed in 1994 by the State Council to compete with the former monopoly operator run by the ministry - and about 1.5 per cent in listed China Telecom (Hong Kong). 'We hope to avoid competition among our investments in telecommunications, developing a clear focus for the group,' Mr Shao said. News of the sale bolstered the share prices of the Hong Kong-listed companies of the Everbright group. Analysts and brokers said investors were buoyed by expectations their cash-rich parent would provide financial support to the listed firms. China Everbright Technology was the star performer, rising 38.58 per cent to close at $1.76, while China Everbright International gained 32.3 per cent to $2.25. Group flagship company China Everbright Ltd, formerly China Everbright IHD-Pacific, rose 27.7 per cent to $6.50. One broker said: 'The sale doesn't represent a really big windfall for the company which has very strong backing from the State Council. Nor will it have material impact on its listed vehicles. However, investors are expecting the group will provide the listed companies with financial support after the sale.' Mr Shao dismissed rumours that it was in need of funds, although its listed companies suffered from investment losses in Hong Kong stocks after last year's market downturn. Steered by Zhu Xiaohua, the former deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, the Everbright group was one of the most aggressive investors in the local stock market last year, buying large stakes in International Bank of Asia, Theme International and Kumagai Gumi. Mr Shao said it had not decided how to use the proceeds. An analyst at a European brokerage said: 'They sold the stake now because they get the best price. They made a good profit from the sale.'