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3 won't flee UK

Categorical denial

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Hutchison Whampoa has issued a denial that it is considering pulling out of "3" - its UK third generation phone service. The Business, a UK Sunday newspaper, this week claimed that the company was mulling the closure of 3 UK to focus on faster-growing countries.

Hutch was stung to reply: "In response to unfounded market speculation about a possible exit of Hutchison Whampoa (HWL) from Hutchison 3G UK (H3G UK), HWL states that it categorically denies the rumours and reiterates its commitment to H3G UK, which is showing strong signs of growth."

Canning Fok, Hutchison Whampoa managing director, said the network was performing well and had a good supply of handsets. He said its risk period was over and it was now focused on growing subscriber numbers.

The company still expects to break even in 2005. Hutchison Whampoa claims more than $18.4bn in cash and "marketable securities on hand" should they be needed. ®

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