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media release

27 February 2001

Strong subscriber increase fuels 23% revenue growth for
Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited

Summary

Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited (Hutchison) today reported strong revenue growth of 23% to $404.7 million for the 12 month period to 31 December 2000 driven primarily by a 33% increase in subscriber numbers.

The significant increase in operating expenditure consistent with the start-up nature of Hutchison's business led to a net loss for the year of $92.5 million, generated on negative earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $98.9 million.

Highlights

  • Revenue growth of 23% to $404.7 million.

  • Total subscriber growth of 33% to 470,516 total subscribers.

  • Successful launch of the Orange One CDMA network during the year.

  • Acquisition during the year of spectrum licences in the 1800 MHz band.

  • Significant increase in awareness of the Orange brand.

  • Continued strong growth in the Orange mobile resale business.

  • Strong growth in Orange One business.

  • Establishment of new financing facility during the year.

    Financial results

    Total revenue of $404.7 million was underpinned by mobile resale revenue of $333.7 million representing a 17% increase on the previous year. Importantly, this growth was achieved while maintaining a high annual average revenue per user (ARPU) of $1,000 for the mobile resale product.

    Paging and messaging revenue of $37.9 million was broadly in line with the prior year while revenue from Orange One was $22 million.

    The company's operating expenses for the year increased approximately 54% to $489.9 million reflecting the costs associated with being a network operator and the start up position of the Orange One business.

    Hutchison incurred negative earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $85.2 million and negative EBIT of $98.9 million leading to a net loss after tax of $92.5 million.

    Other developments

    During the 12 month period to 31 December 2000 Hutchison successfully launched its innovative Orange One service. The marketing campaign used the phrase "the home phone that can go mobile" and was designed to raise awareness of the uniqueness of the service. It also addressed the growing need for second and third telephone lines by both residential users and small to medium sized businesses as well as providing cost savings for mobile phone users.

    Prompted awareness of the Orange brand increased to 82%, and as at 31 December 2000 there were 74,703 Orange One subscribers.

    Orange One uses the world's first application of LocalZone technology, which was pioneered by Hutchison and its network supplier Samsung Electronics Co. Limited.

    During the year, Hutchison refined its plans to develop a high speed data services business which it expects to launch towards the end of 2002/early 2003.

    Managing Director's comment

    Commenting on the release of the company's annual results, the Managing Director of Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited, Mr Barry Roberts-Thomson, said:

    "We are pleased to have achieved strong revenue growth of 23% during the year fuelled by a one third increase in overall subscriber numbers. Once again mobile resale services underpinned group revenue while our Orange One business is on track for future growth.

    "Our strategy is to be a leading provider of high speed data services which we believe will drive the next wave of growth in the Australian telecommunications industry. Negotiations with a vendor to construct our high speed data network are well advanced and will enable us to bring third generation (3G) services to the Australian market within two years."

    "Hutchison in Australia is in a unique position to benefit from the significant resources the Hutchison Whampoa Group globally is investing in 3G, including the development of UMTS W-CDMA technologies for the delivery of unique 3G services. Hutchison will also benefit through the ability to participate in global content purchasing arrangements and the Group's demonstrated track record of consumer understanding," he said.

    Information about Hutchison

    Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited has over 10 years of involvement in Australian telecommunications and its goal is to be a leading provider of wirefree services. The company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in August 1999 and is indirectly 58% owned by Hutchison Whampoa Limited, a Hong Kong-based company with operations which include an international telecommunications business operating throughout Europe, Asia, Israel and India.

    Hutchison launched its own wireless service, using CDMA technology, called Orange One in mid-2000. This world first service is the home phone that can go mobile. It operates on Orange's own purpose-built CDMA network. When you make a call the network knows the location of the handset. Calls are charged at local rates when the caller is at home (called LocalZone) and mobile rates apply when the calls are made outside the LocalZone. The Orange One CDMA network provides coverage to around eight million people in and around Sydney and Melbourne.

    ends

    For further information, please contact:
    Kim Watt, Investor Relations Manager. Tel: (02) 8902 0554     email: kwatt@orange.net.au
    Geoff Fowlstone, Fowlstone Communications. Tel (02) 9955 9899, Mobile 0413 746 949