i-Cable suspends share trading pending announcement of insider information

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 April, 2017, 11:39am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 April, 2017, 12:06pm

Hong Kong’s pay television and broadband service provider i-Cable Communications halted trading on Tuesday morning, pending the release of an announcement that involves “inside information”.

Shares of i-Cable were suspended before the start of trading at 61 HK cents apiece.

The share has fallen 22 per cent since the start of the year. Parent company Wharf Holdings said in March that it would stop funding the television unit that has been reporting losses on the back of a weak advertising market and harsh competition in Hong Kong.

The broadcaster has been struggling to find investors and avoid a permanent closure. i-Cable is required to announce its decision on whether to accept the station’s license renewal with the government on April 26. If not, the pay-TV operator will close from June 1.

Ronald Chiu Ying-chun, executive director of i-CABLE News and i-CABLE Sports said on April 10 that i-Cable has been holding discussions with a potential investor and was getting closer to a deal, according to an interview with former Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing in an online programme.

Chiu didn’t disclose the name of the potential investor.

Hong Kong consortium confirms investment talks with ailing i-Cable

A consortium led by property ­tycoon David Chiu Tat-cheong has reached out to i-Cable Communications to discuss investing in the ailing broadcaster, the South China Morning Post reported in late March.

The consortium, Forever Top, said in a statement that its management had “exchanged views” with i-Cable but had yet to reach any conclusions.

Local Chinese-language daily Ming Pao, citing anonymous sources, reported on April 11 that Forever Top plans to buy Wharf’s 73.8 per cent stake in i-Cable for HK$900 million, which is still HK$200 million less than the asking price sought by the seller.

i-Cable’s market capitalization was HK$1.23 billion, based on calculations at its recent closing price.

The company reported a net loss of HK$313 million last year, widened from HK$233 million in 2015.

i-Cable sale up in the air as losses mount amid tough Hong Kong TV market