Hutchison rise

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The Independent Online
HUTCHISON WHAMPOA, the Hong Kong conglomerate, yesterday reported a 70 per cent rise in first-half net profits to pounds 586m, after booking an exceptional pounds 401m profit on the sale of a 4 per cent interest in Orange, the mobile phone operator. Hutchison retains a 44.8 per cent interest in Orange. The performance of Hutchison's other divisions was mixed; property development and oil business earnings slipped, although Hong Kong Electric as well as Hutchison's various retailing and telecoms interests rang up operating profit gains.

"The results have been achieved in an environment of reduced consumer spending, slowly (albeit modestly) recovering economies in Asia and increased competition in all the group's core businesses," said Li Ka-shing, company chairman.

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