BAe to sell telecom stake: Aerospace group seeks buyer for slice of Hutchison personal network operation

BRITISH Aerospace is to sell its 30 per cent stake in Hutchison Telecommunications (UK), one of two operators licensed to provide mobile personal communications networks.

Hans Snook, managing director of Hutchison Telecom in the UK, said: 'BAe is seeking a buyer in order to concentrate on its main businesses. We want a new shareholder - people in the telecommunications business that can bring something else to the party besides money.'

He said the company was talking to very large companies in Europe, North America and Asia.

A BAe spokesman said: 'That stake is best held by a more willing partner who sees it as more of a core activity. But we are in no hurry. It needs to be placed in context and it is not a red- hot burning issue.'

Hutchison, part of the Hong Kong- based Hutchison Whampoa empire, plans to rival both existing cellular telephone networks and fixed telephone services with its PCN service, due to be launched in the first half of next year.

BAe gained the stake two years ago in return for selling Hutchison its Microtel mobile telephone subsidiary. No cash was involved in the exchange. The other shareholder in Hutchison's telecommunications operation here is Barclays, which holds a 5 per cent stake.

Hutchison Whampoa said yesterday that losses incurred by its overseas telecommunications arms in the first half of this year largely offset profits made in the sector in Hong Kong.

In Britain, its existing Telepoint mobile telephone service - a less sophisticated service than PCN known as Rabbit - has been affected by recession and a reduction in consumer spending. Hutchison is also a large paging operator and a leading player in providing services for users of cellular telephone networks.

Although PCNs are said to be on target for early 1994 operation, the group said that the UK businesses 'are being carefully monitored with rationalisation and cost-controlling measures being implemented'.

Mr Snook rejected rumours that the group intends to cut back on UK plans, which will involve a total investment of up to pounds 900m. 'There has been a lot of mischief spoken about Hutchison Whampoa's telecom plans. We are looking at these businesses very carefully but that just means that normal business practices are being applied.' He said Rabbit and PCN were obviously loss-making in the start-up phase, adding: 'We are going to make them profitable.'

The company's rival in PCN is Mercury One-2-One, which is gearing up for launch within the next few months.

Hutchison Whampoa increased its pre-tax profits to dollars 443m in the first half of the year from dollars 294m in the same period a year before.

Turnover rose to dollars 1.48bn from dollars 1.3bn in the first six months of 1992. The group declared an interim dividend of 2.44 cents, up from 2.05 a year earlier.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk