Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hutchison Reaches 12 Million Mobile Users, Growth in Indonesia

Driven by the strong growth in total customer base and increased revenue contributions from established operations in Hong Kong and Israel, Hutchison Telecommunications reported an increase of over 16% in total turnover to approximately HK$24 billion and an increase of 16.8% in EBITDA to HK$6,138 million. EBITDA margin for the full year 2008 trended up slightly to 25.9% while operating profit, on a like-for-like basis and after excluding several one-off items recorded in 2008, jumped 29.1% to HK$2,092 million.

Excluding Vietnam and Ghana, Hutchinson Telecom registered approximately 28% yearly growth in its total customer base in 2008, driven mainly by strong customer acquisition in Indonesia and the continued expansion of its 3G customer bases in Hong Kong and Israel.

"We are pleased to have delivered a set of satisfying results in a year full of challenges. Particularly our Indonesian operation achieved encouraging customer growth and improved operational performance amidst intense market competition. We expect to see this positive trend sustained in 2009 as our network expansion continues. Our Vietnamese operation is set to launch a nationwide GSM service this month with a network covering all major cities in Vietnam. Together these two markets will be the key impetus for growth for Hutchison Telecom," stated Dennis Lui, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Telecom.

"The impact of the global economic uncertainty is yet to be fully seen in telecommunications industry. We continue to be watchful of the potential challenges. Our operation in Israel embarked on a series of cost-management initiatives last year to enable it to maintain its operating efficiency. We will apply this approach across all operations to support profitable growth." said Mr Lui.

Some highlights:

  • Despite intense competition, the company's Hong Kong and Macau mobile customer base increased 11.3% yearly to over 2.7 million, while the 3G customer base grew 24.2% yearly to 1,340,000. The Hong Kong operation is the largest 3G service provider in Hong Kong in terms of customer numbers.

  • In Israel, Hutchinson's total customer base rose to 2,898,000 with 3G base growing to approximately 1 million

  • In Indonesia, Hutchinson's customer base more than doubled to 4,501,000
    . The company has accelerated its network expansion and now has over 6,300 base stations on-air. It expects to increase the size of its networks to over 9,000 base stations by the end of 2009.

  • In Sri Lanka, Hutchinson's customer base stood at 887,000
    . Political instability, intensified market competition and new government policy regarding prepaid customer registration contributed to the negative growth in 2008.

  • In Thailand, the company's customer base was up to 1.1 million. The Group is in continued discussions with its partner in Thailand on the future for its regional CDMA operation in Thailand. Meanwhile the business focused on operating in a self-sustaining financial mode, achieving customer growth to 1.1 million by the end of 2008.

  • For 2009, Hutchinson said it will continue to invest in the Indonesia and Vietnam markets in 2009 and target to increase the size of networks in Indonesia to around 9,000 base stations by the end of the year and 5,000 base stations in Vietnam within the first 12 months of the launch. As the Group's Indonesian network footprint expands, it expects to see continued and strong growth in existing service areas in Java and Sumatra and expanded market share in new areas in Kalimantan and Sulawesi.

  • In view of the above development, Hutchison Telecom anticipates the Group's capital expenditure in 2009, excluding Hong Kong and Macau operations to be approximately HK$7 billion the majority of which is earmarked for Indonesia and Vietnam.

See also