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Hutchison buys out Italian 3G partner for €470m

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Hutchison Whampoa is buying out Cirtel, its Italian 3G partner, for €470m. The Hong Kong-owned conglomerate is shelling out €373.2m to repay a loan made by Cirtel to the venture and €40m to mop up the junior partner's 1.6 per cent stake.

Hutchison has spent a large fortune - €22bn - on building its 3G networks. It aims to tap the public markets for cash next year, with IPOs pencilled for its 3G networks in Italy, the UK and India.

Hutch today claimed 6.3m customers for its 3G networks worldwide. It expects another 200,000 sign-ups net by the end of the year. H3G Italia, is its biggest country operation, with 2.6m subscribers, 600,000 of which signed up in the last month. ®

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