@aish0123 (142)
December 22, 2006 5:07am CST
is it benefical?????? Hutchison Whampoa, which is controlled by the Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, owns 67 percent of Hutchison Essar, and Essar of India owns the rest. Essar has the right of first refusal on any deal. Hutchison Essar declined to comment on any offers. Shares of Vodafone dropped 1.74 percent in London trading after a report in The Financial Times on Thursday said the company was considering a bid. Vodafone is expected to confirm its interest in a statement on Friday. Telecommunications companies are looking to fast-growing emerging markets as their operations in traditional markets have stagnated. Less than 10 percent of the 1.1 billion people in India have a mobile phone, according to a Gartner Group study, compared with more than 70 percent in the United States, but new users are growing at record rates. According to the Telecom Regulators Authority of India, India had 6.79 million new mobile subscribers in November. In contrast, some surveys say that in some areas in Europe and Asia, including the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Sweden, there is already more than one mobile phone subscription for each person. Vodafone has been focused on moving into faster growth markets. On Tuesday, it sold its 25 percent stake in Swisscom Mobile for $3.5 billion, about what it paid for the unit in 2001, when bidding for European telecommunications forced up prices. Earlier in December, it increased its stake in Vodafone Egypt to 55 percent. Hutchison Whampoa operates telecommunications businesses in Europe, Hong Kong and emerging markets including Thailand and Vietnam. It also owns ports and retail businesses. Essar, a smaller conglomerate, has oil and gas businesses, as well as shipping and construction operations. Indian newspapers have reported tension in the Hutchison Essar partnership because Hutchison allied with Orascom, a telecommunications company with businesses in neighboring Pakistan, without consulting Essar. In December of last year, Orascom bought 19.3 percent of Hutchison’s emerging-market telecommunications business, and the two pledged to cooperate on expansion. Two Orascom executives sit on Hutchison Telecom’s board, which managed the Hutchison Essar business. It may be difficult for another potential bidder to do a deal because of this arrangement, analysts in London said on Thursday. That does not mean they will not try. Blackstone Group and Reliance Communications have already lined up financing for a deal with several banks, including Citigroup. Blackstone made an independent bid of about $13 billion
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