Shares in Hutchison Whampoa fell 1.73 per cent yesterday after the company disclosed a projected 2.7 billion euro (about HK$18.16 billion) loss for its third-generation (3G) mobile operation in Italy in the next five years. The conglomerate closed HK$1.25 lower at HK$71 on heavy volume of HK$916.03 million, a day after it held a 3.2 billion euro syndicated loan roadshow in Hong Kong for its Italian mobile subsidiary H3G Italia. According to the loan document reviewed by Business Post, the aggregate after-tax loss before interest expenses of H3G is projected to be 1.5 billion euros from this year to 2006. Interest expenses to bankers and Hutchison totalled 1.2 billion euros, making the accumulated loss for the period 2.7 billion euros. Hutchison said that H3G would require 7.2 billion euros in investment up to 2006, not including the licence cost of 3.3 billion euros. A local broker said the loss projection seemed to be 'pretty big numbers', which could hurt Hutchison's earnings in the next few years. On Thursday, group managing director Canning Fok Kin-ning said the company did not want to give shareholders false expectations about future earnings, given that it was just starting to roll out its 3G service. To finance the huge capital expenditure of 10.5 billion euros, H3G will require 5.2 billion euros in financing, of which 3.2 billion euros will come from syndication banks. Hutchison, through shareholder loans, and the handset vendors will each contribute one billion euros. Hutchison, which owns 88 per cent of H3G, will contribute 5.3 billion euros, or more than half the total capital, as shareholder equity. Analysts said the commitment by Hutchison, averaging almost one billion euros in capital expenditure in the next five years, was higher than they had expected. Hutchison plans to launch 3G services in Britain, Italy and Hong Kong in the fourth quarter this year. Separate marketing material provided by Hutchison shows H3G is expected to post losses of 918 million euros this year, 1.43 billion euros in 2005 and 1.22 billion euros in 2006.