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 consortium, Forever Top, said in a statement on Wednesday that its management had “exchanged views” with i-Cable but had yet to reach any conclusions. Hunt for cash to keep ailing Hong Kong cable TV company on air Hours before the statement was issued, Wharf Holdings chairman Stephen Ng Tin-hoi denied reports the broadcaster was set to lay off staff in order to stay on air. Wharf Holdings is i-Cable’s parent company. “I have heard the rumours but they carry completely no truth,” Ng said. All of the staff are going to work and getting paid as usual Stephen Ng Tin-hoi, Wharf Holdings “All of the staff are going to work and getting paid as usual.” The consortium statement came after reports by Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao that Forever Top had plans to inject investment but wanted i-Cable to reduce its operating expenses. The reports quoted anonymous sources. Ng declined to comment on the reports. “It is inconvenient for me to talk about matters relating to new investments at this moment because of the regulations on listing matters,” he said. Earlier this month, Wharf Holdings said i-Cable lost HK$313 million last year and that funding for the broadcaster would not be extended. At the time, the parent company also said it could not find a buyer for the broadcaster. Former lawmaker Tang Ka-piu of the Federation of Trade Unions said he had heard from an i-Cable insider that plans were afoot for up to two-thirds of its2,000 staff to be laid off. “Staff members from different departments will be affected, including those in entertainment news,” he said, adding that the lay-offs would be conducted in several stages. His federation colleague, labour sector lawmaker Luk Chung-hung, also expressed concern about the possible layoffs. i-Cable’s Fantastic TV set to launch on May 14 “I hope the company will handle the matter appropriately,” he said. Chiu, the second son of late former ATV owner Deacon Chiu Te-ken, said earlier this month Forever Top had considered investing in i-Cable. However he added that the consortium had not been in touch with the broadcaster. It was after these remarks that the Ming Pao reports appeared. Forever Top earlier applied for a free-to-air television licence, with Chiu saying he hoped the government would finish processing its application in the first half of the year.