Listing vehicle will include foreign networks and may raise up to US$1b, which could offset 3G losses Hutchison Whampoa is planning to spin off its mobile-phone assets through a separate listing vehicle, in a move which could raise as much as US$1 billion and offset losses stemming from its third-generation (3G) business. The conglomerate yesterday announced it had established a company - Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTI) - to facilitate the move and had applied to the stock exchange for a listing on the main board. HTI will include Hutchison's 2G and 3G businesses and its fixed-line unit Hutchison Global Communications, which recently achieved a back-door listing by merging with Vanda Systems & Communications Holdings. The group's mobile businesses in Ghana, India, Israel, Macau, Sri Lanka, Paraguay and Thailand will also be included in HTI. The entity will have the option of acquiring its parent's Argentinian telecommunications assets at a later date. Hutchison will retain its 3G assets in Italy, Britain and other European markets, along with its 3G and other mobile assets in Australia. Analysts estimated HTI could be worth US$3 billion to $4 billion after the spin-off, meaning Hutchison would collect $750 million to $1 billion should it float 25 per cent of the company. The group will remain HTI's majority shareholder. Hutchison said a separate listing of the mobile assets would help HTI 'capitalise on attractive growth opportunities in developing mobile telecommunications markets' and 'enable investors to appraise and assess the potential and performance of [the telecommunications assets] distinct from that of [Hutchison Whampoa]'. Nomura Securities analyst Ng Kong-yong said the deal would generate a substantial gain for Hutchison but he did not expect a huge impact on its net asset value. Hutchison lost HK$9.6 billion from its global 3G operations last year and analysts expect operating losses to climb to as much as $24 billion this year. One banker close to Hutchison said the company was attempting to unlock shareholder value and replicate the market success of Orange, the sale of which generated a staggering US$20 billion in profits between 1999 and 2001 and is considered by many to be Hutchison chairman Li Ka-shing's shrewdest deal. According to Mr Ng, HTI's most profitable assets will be its Indian and Hong Kong mobile businesses. The group had four million subscribers in India and expects this number to double to eight million this year. It had 1.83 million mobile subscribers in Hong Kong, with growth forecast at 3 per cent. Hutchison also claimed 10 million mobile subscribers worldwide last year, up 64 per cent. Hutchison reported HK$15.47 billion in turnover for its global 2G and other operations last year, up 16 per cent from 2002. Earnings before interest and taxes climbed 23 per cent to $1.19 billion. Hutchison earlier said it planned to list its Indian mobile-phone businesses in London, Bombay and New York. A Hutchison spokeswoman said HTI's listing would not prevent this plan from going forward. Hutchison shares dropped 1.78 per cent yesterday to HK$55, a three-month low. The counter has shed about 4 per cent since the beginning of the year, compared with a 1.1 per cent drop for the Hang Seng Index.