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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee