Cable &Wireless $56m half-year loss

Cable & Wireless Hong Kong (C&W HKT) has reported a loss of $HK2.77 billion ($A56 million) for the first half of its financial year ended 30 September, compared with a profit of $HK6.1 billion for the year-earlier period. Revenue fell by 17.8 per cent compared to the year-earlier period at $HK14.18 billion, the company said.

The loss was primarily caused by a write-down of $HK7.09 billion relating to older circuit-switched equipment being replaced by new broadband packet-switched networks, the company said in a statement released Friday.

C&W HKT chief executive Linus Cheung said the company's financial performance has been hurt by intense price competition in international telephone and mobile services, but that results also highlight the dramatic growth in demand for new Internet and e-commerce services in Hong Kong.

Revenues from internet and interactive multimedia services rose 85 per cent year on year and dial-up internet traffic for the last six months was 157 per cent higher than for the same period last year, the company said. During the same period, revenue from international services dropped 31 per cent and revenue from mobile services dropped 21 per cent.

Cheung said C&W HKT is committed to continue to develop Hong Kong as the leading e-commerce center for the Asian region through substantial investments in advanced technology and services. The former monopoly carrier said it is establishing its own $A31 million venture capital fund to support high technology projects across the region.

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