Hutchison Whampoa has unveiled a US$1.2 billion joint venture into which it will inject its SAR fixed-line telephone and Internet infrastructure businesses. The venture is with Global Crossing, a Bermuda-based operator of undersea fibre-optic cable networks. The agreement, revealed in Hong Kong yesterday by Hutchison chairman Li Ka-shing and Global Crossing chairman Gary Winnick, creates an equally held joint venture to be called Hutchison Global Crossing. Hutchison's fixed-line telephone and Internet infrastructure businesses are valued at US$800 million. For its share in the joint venture, Global One will give Hutchison US$400 million in preferred convertible stock, or about 1 per cent of its total shares outstanding, plus a seat on its board. Global Crossing will contribute to the venture the capacity rights on its global fibre-optic networks and set up a global data centre in Hong Kong, together valued at about US$350 million. In addition, it will inject US$50 million in cash into Hutchison Global Crossing. 'We have been looking for a partner to help us grow our telecoms business . . . and we have found one in Global Crossing,' said Hutchison managing director Canning Fok. The accord would result in a HK$3 billion one-off gain for Hutchison, he said. Through the arrangement, Hutchison's customers will gain access to Global Crossing's direct international connections. Global Crossing formed a similar joint venture in September with Microsoft and Softbank - Asia Global Crossing - that connects most of Asia. Global Crossing said it expected the stake in Hutchison Global Crossing will eventually be integrated into Asia Global Crossing. Asia Global Crossing chief executive Jack Scanlon said: 'This is an important strategic step which immediately introduces the Greater China region to the Global Crossing network. 'By year end, we will link Asia across the Pacific to North America and on to Europe.' The new joint venture is expected to begin tapping the capital markets for funding, with an eye to listing on the Nasdaq market in the United States after 18 months. Mr Fok said: 'The new company will continue on the capital expenditure programme I previously outlined - about HK$10 billion over the next three to five years to expand our local fibre-optic network. 'We will know if the timing is right to list Hutchison Global Crossing in about 18 months.' The joint venture will be formalised in January, after Hutchison receives its external facilities licence from the Government. The licence allows companies to bypass Cable & Wireless HKT's long-distance facilities and to build their own landing facilities. Hutchison Global Crossing is expected be part of a planned fibre-optic network in the mainland to be named China Crossing. 'With the news of the WTO agreement, it looks like this will happen sooner rather than later,' Mr Scanlon said. The joint-venture will have sales of about HK$3.8 billion this year, made up mainly of revenue from its fixed-line telephone business, according to Mr Fok. He said the new electronic services delivery contract with the Government would also be injected into Hutchison Global Crossing.