Cable & Wireless HKT and Australia-based Telstra could spin off an Internet protocol (IP) joint venture as early as this year, according to analysts. A possible listing this year reflected the companies' optimism about creating a regional IP powerhouse after securing a Type 1 licence in Japan last Friday, the analysts said. But the move would also show the determination of Pacific Century CyberWorks to lower debt after its merger with HKT is finalised in August. 'HKT had an aggressive schedule in listing that part of the business,' said Lehman Brothers analyst Peter Milliken, who has met HKT management. HKT had planned to list the business in the first quarter next year. 'The merged company will surprise the market with the speed and money they are planning to raise,' Mr Milliken said. Sources close to CyberWorks said while the Australian company and HKT had not agreed on a valuation of the business, it was likely to spin off the IP joint venture, rather than the regional mobile business, as it yields a higher valuation. Edison Lee, a Credit Lyonnais Securities (Asia) telecoms analyst, put a price tag of US$25 billion on the deal. 'Although the valuation of the Australian-Hong Kong joint venture could come lower, I would not be surprised that HKT's stake is close to HK$100 billion.' Analysts said HKT might want to push the listing schedule forward to take advantage of present market sentiment. In April, Telstra agreed to invest US$3 billion in the merged PCCW-HKT entity, which will not be formed until after August 10. The two sides also agreed to form an IP-backbone company to provide Internet connectivity in Asia. The combined company, which aims to provide cable and other infrastructure to carry voice, data and Internet services, will have revenues of US$1.7 billion, the second largest in Asia behind Japanese telecom company KDD. The two companies said the new business would exclude the local network or domestic wholesale business in Hong Kong and Australia. The recent award of a Japanese licence to HKT was 'crucial', helping it to be seen as a significant player in the Asian market, Mr Millikens said. Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications last Friday granted a Type 1 facility-based telecoms licence to HKT, which would enable it to build its own infrastructure. In another Australian joint venture, CyberWorks has agreed to invest A$32 million (HK$147 million) in Australian e-commerce solutions company SecureNet for a 5 per cent stake. SecureNet will set up a joint venture with HKT to provide smart cards and other Internet security products. CyberWorks also had an option to acquire a further 10 per cent stake in SecureNet within the next two years at A$101 million. Meanwhile, CyberWorks said senior management of PCCW-HKT had not yet been determined. There have been reports Hubert Ng Ching-wah, former SmarTone chief executive and Network of the World managing director, will head the mobile operation.