Hutchison Whampoa has tightened its grip on Hong Kong container activities by increasing its 95 per cent stake in Mid-Stream Holdings to 100 per cent. Despite lower throughput and increased competition, Mid-Stream's earnings before interest and tax rose 26 per cent due to efficienct operating and cost controls, Hutchison reported for 1998. The report said the group had increased its interest in Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) from 85 per cent to 88 per cent. HIT, the world's largest privately owned container port facility, operates Terminals 4, 6 and 7 at Kwai Chung and has a 44 per cent stake in Terminal 8 East. The report said combined throughput from both operations totalled six million teu, slightly lower than the 6.4 million teu in 1997. The decline in throughput was due mainly to the loss of containers handled by Orient Overseas Container Line, which went to Modern Terminals after the carrier joined the Grand Alliance consortium.