Hutchison predicts plus $100m half year loss

Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd said today its first half net operating loss was expected to be between $100 and $110 million.

Hutchison managing director Barry Roberts-Thomsom said start-up expenditure for the telco was significant.

"The market will remain challenging in the lead-up to mobile number portability which continued pressure on subscriber acquisition costs and ARPU (average revenue per user)," he said.

Roberts-Thomson said product repositioning will allow the company to deliver an improved performance for Orange One and the company is examining strategic alliances and will announce vendor arrangements for its third generation operation shortly.

Hutchison Telecommunications director Frank Sixt said the company currently expected a further $1 billion of equity capital would be needed over the next three to five years but said parent company Hutchison Whampoa was fully committed to underwriting that if necessary.

Mr Sixt, who was delivering the chairman's address at the company's annual general meeting in Sydney, is also group finance director of Hutchison Whampoa.

He said Hutchison was naturally disappointed with the decline in the company's share value.

"We are convinced of the company's direction, of the ability of its management team to execute its plans and we are committed to ensuring its success: this will involve a deepening of the company's operating loss profile during the period of transition to full facilities based competition," he said.

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