Hutchison Telecom to spin off India unit

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 30 September 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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HONG KONG: Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL), a Hutchison Whampoa Ltd unit seeking an IPO worth up to $1.1 billion, said on Wednesday it plans to spin off its India mobile operations by June 2005.

The Hong Kong-based telecom firm told a news conference it intended to float 10 percent of its India unit, the minimum required by the Securities and Exchange Board of India, in an initial public offering split between global institutions and India's local retail investors.

"We are doing this IPO because of our commitment to our Indian partners," Chief Executive Officer Dennis Lui told reporters.

Analysts have valued the India business at $3 billion, which means the India IPO could worth $300 million.

The separate listing of the fast-growing India business, regarded as the most attractive holding in HTIL, has dampened investors interest in HTIL.

"There's still a lot of hurdles we have to go through in terms of regulatory approving processes", Lui said, stressing there were uncertainties as to the timing of the India listing.

HTIL's holding in the India mobile business will be diluted to 50.9 percent from the current 56 percent after the spin off.

HTIL has cut the size of its New York and Hong Kong offering by about a quarter to US$965 million-$1.1 billion from an earlier target range of $1.2-$1.5 billion after a tepid investor response.

Hutchison Whampoa, controlled by Asia's richest businessman Li Ka-shing, is selling 1.155 billion shares or 25.67 percent of HTIL in a price range of HK$6.52-HK$7.55 each.

Other assets in HTIL include telecoms operations in Hong Kong as well as cellular holdings in Israel, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Paraguay and Macau. The firm will begin its public offering to Hong Kong retail investors on Thursday.

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