Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa has offered to take Hutchison Telecommunications International private as the group’s largest shareholder. The move was expected given that the telecom company that has sold or spun off its most profitable operations in recent years.
The super diverse Hutchinson Wampoa, which owns property, ports, retail and telecom holdings, is owned by Li Ka-shing, one of Asia’s richest men. The WSJ reports that the move makes sense given that recently the telecom group has disposed of mobile-phone assets in India and Israel, and also spun off its profitable Hong Kong and Macau business. Hutchinson Whampoa runs and operates the “3″ brand in several markets, including Hong Kong where it has one of the largest in terms of customer base. Hutchison Telecom is a different entity, in which 60.4 percent is owned by Hutchison Whampoa. It is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchanges, and has unprofitable operations left in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Most of the rest of the company is owned by Scailex Corp., which bought a stake in Hutchinson’s Israeli unit, Partner Communications, for $1.38 billion in cash and debt.