Asia's richest man continues to invest in Europe
The richest man in Asia, Li Ka-shing, has his eyes fixed in Europe. Hutchison Whampoa, Li's conglomerate, made big investments in the region. The company's investment involved businesses from water treatment to gas distribution. Its investments on the latter were starting to pay off, said analysts.
In addition, the conglomerate was a big player in consolidating the mobile sector of Europe. "Consolidating opportunities have emerged as European telecoms are in need of funds and asset values have fallen," said Morgan Stanley in a note.
Early last year, Hutchison 3G Austria purchased the third largest mobile operator in the country, Orange Austria. The deal amounted to US$1.7 billion. Last June, Hutchison also agreed to pay Eur850 million (US$1.1 billion) for O2 Ireland, the Irish subsidiary of Telefonica of Spain. The deal will make Hutchison Whampoa's 3 Ireland the country's second biggest mobile provider.
According to UBS AG, these investments rewarded Li and his conglomerate with a 45% increase in pre-tax earnings in the first half this year. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley said that Hutchison has 16% share in revenue from Sweden's mobile sector.
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