China Telecom (Hong Kong) is likely to vote today at a Cable & Wireless HKT board meeting in favour of Pacific Century CyberWorks' merger with the SAR telephone company. HKT's board is to decide today whether to recommend the merger proposal to shareholders and China Telecom's stance could dictate the outcome as it is HKT's second-largest shareholder with a 10.8 per cent stake. China Telecom (Hong Kong) vice-chairman Li Ping will be present at the meeting. Seventy-five per cent of HKT's shareholders need to vote in favour of the merger for it to proceed. China Telecom is likely to approve the merger 'because it wants to cash out' and not because it 'wants to support [CyberWorks chairman] Richard Li or CyberWorks,' a source said. China Telecom executives had expressed displeasure that CyberWorks officials had not discussed the merger plan with them before its announcement, he said. They have also dismissed reports CyberWorks officials had sought their support for the merger at a luncheon on January 26. 'It is absolutely wrong and misleading to infer or imply from the luncheon meeting attended by the senior management of the company and CyberWorks . . . whether or not the company intends to support the offer by CyberWorks to acquire HKT shares,' China Telecom said yesterday. 'China Telecom has always been eager to dispose of the HKT stake in order to raise capital to finance its own expansion plans,' a company spokesman said. The company last week said it needed US$6 billion in the next two years to meet capital-expenditure requirements for mobile networks in six provinces. Under the cash option of the merger proposal, China Telecom could cash in on HK$9.49 billion, plus 9.34 billion CyberWorks shares.