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Sri Lanka Hutchison unit subscribers down
26 Apr, 2010 12:40:05
Apr 26, 2010 (LBO) - Hutchison Telecom International's Sri Lanka unit lost mobile phone subscribers in 2009 amid intense competition in the market, according to the group's annual report released to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
The number of mobile phone subscribers of Hutchison Telecom Lanka shrank by 12 percent to 779,000 although it continued to expand coverage and market its services.

"In Sri Lanka, Hutchison Telecom Lanka faced a difficult operating environment and the customer base decreased to 779,000 customers from 887,000 last year," the annual report said.

Turnover was down to 61 million Hong Kong dollars in 2009, compared to 160 Hong Kong dollars million in 2008.

"LBITDA (loss before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization) was 94 million Hong Kong dollars, compared to an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization) of 37 million dollars in 2008," the report said.

Competition in Sri Lanka's mobile market has intensified in recent years resulting in a price war and losses among players.

The mobile market is dominated by Dialog Telekom, a unit of Malaysia's Axiata, and includes Mobitel, a unit of the dominant fixed access operator Sri Lanka Telecom, Etisalat and India's Bharti Airtel.

Hutchison Telecom Lanka is part of the Hutchison Whampoa group, which owns its through Hutchison Telecom International (HTIL).

HTIL holds the group’s interests in second-generation or 2G mobile operations in Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Thailand, all of which are making losses.

Hutchison Telecom Lanka officials said in January that the local unit will stay with the group although the parent is being de-listed from the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Hutchison Whampoa, owned by Li Ka-shing, one of Asia's richest men, has made a general offer to Hutchison Telecom International to buy them out at 545 million US dollars and go private.

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