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Hutchison 3G on road to break-even

Just round corner, claims CEO

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Canning Fok, chief executive of Hutchison Wampoa, believes 3G phone services could break even sooner than he predicted.

Hutchison recently launched 3G services in Italy, and Fok told Italian paper Corriere della Sera: "I have always said that the break-even at the EBITDA (core earnings) level will be reached in 2005, and break-even at the operating level in 2006. But seen how it is going now, we could be quicker."

In the longer-term Fok believes 3G services will contribute as much as 40 per cent to group sales.

But it wasn't all good news. Fok complained that the Italian government's subsidies for fixed-line broadband services made it harder for 3G services to compete. The company has also had to wait three years for a €500m VAT rebate which would have taken a few weeks elsewhere in Europe. ®

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