Page last updated at 07:27 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Annual profits fall at 3G company

3 store in London
Hutchison's 3G operations have long struggled to make a profit

Hutchison Whampoa has reported a 42% fall in net profit but sounded an upbeat note as losses narrowed at its 3G mobile phone operations.

The Hong Kong-based oil-to-telecoms firm said annual profits totalled 17.7bn Hong Kong dollars (£1.56bn), compared with HK$30.6bn in 2007.

Losses at its global third generation or 3G mobile phone operations came to HK$10.8bn, less than 2007's HK$17.9bn.

The firm is owned by 80-year-old Li Ka-shing, one of Asia's richest men.

The group is facing the most challenging environment in recent times, with growth slowing in most markets and many of the world's major economies in recession," Mr Li said.

However, he said that sales of 3G phones, particularly Skype phones, had been "encouraging".

Mr Li's other flagship firm Cheung Kong Holdings, a property developer, saw profits fall 44% to HK$15.5bn.

"Returns from investment and finance reduced significantly compared to last year, mainly as a result of the repercussions of the global financial crisis," it said.

Mr Li is ranked 16th on Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people, with a fortune of $16.2bn.

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