One-time gains from asset sales and property revaluation will help Hutchison Whampoa post a 10.4 per cent increase in net profit for last year, offsetting up to $24 billion in losses on its global third-generation (3G) operations, analysts say. They expected the company to unveil profits of $15.87 billion when it announces its full-year results tomorrow, up from $14.38 billion a year earlier. After stripping out the 3G start-up losses, analysts say Hutchison will post solid earnings growth in most of its non-telecommunications businesses. For last year, the company is expected to adopt new accounting rules that will see it amortise the cost of enlisting 3G contract users over one year instead of three, in line with industry practice. While that would make its 3G losses even worse for last year, the accounting change also allows for a revaluation of properties, which should boost results. Analysts predict that 3G operations could break even on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation by the end of this year, with Smith Barney expecting 3G to turn profitable by 2007. They will be keeping an eye out tomorrow for any indication that the group is proceeding with plans to list its Italian 3G mobile business in the fourth quarter. A revaluation of Hutchison's investment properties will produce a gain of about $4 billion. CLSA analyst Danie Schutte said in a report that without this exceptional gain group net profit would have fallen by up to 20 per cent to $11.5 billion. This year the group's one-time gains could come to $23 billion, including $5.4 billion from the spin-off of its emerging markets telecommunications arm, Hutchison Telecommunications International, and its Hong Kong fixed-line arm Hutchison Global Communications. For the first half, the group has booked a $13.7 billion windfall from the sale of a mainland joint venture with Procter & Gamble. Meanwhile, its port business is expected to grow 14.4 per cent before interest and taxes to $8.69 billion. However, some analysts warn that pricing pressure and slowing growth at terminals in Hong Kong and China could weigh on growth. 'US and European port congestion is probably going to become more of an issue over the next few years,' said Morgan Stanley analyst Rob Hart, who expects Hutchison's port profit growth to slow to single digits this year and next. Merrill Lynch estimates Hutchison's retail business will earn $2.88 billion before interest and tax, up 25 per cent, helped by maiden contributions from German health and beauty chain Dirk Rossmann and Drogas, which operates the same business in Latvia and Lithuania.