Hong Kong’s Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTI), part of Hutchison Whampoa, has reportedly refused lower the price at which it previously agreed to sell its share in Thai CDMA mobile operator Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia (HCWM) to its joint venture partner, state-run CAT Telecom. CAT has been ordered by the government to renegotiate the THB7.5 billion (USD252 million) agreed price for taking full control of the Bangkok-based CDMA2000 network, to around THB4 billion, but an anonymous Hutchison source told the Bangkok Post that the Hong Kong group would prefer to mothball the company than to sell it for such an ‘impossible figure.’ The joint venture partners first agreed in principle to transfer HCWM to CAT over three years ago but a deal has been blocked by disagreements over asset valuations and political interference. The source quoted by the newspaper added that Hutchison earns higher revenues each year from its ‘existing 800,000 subscribers’ [reported elsewhere as above 900,000] than it would get from selling the network – covering Bangkok and central provinces – to CAT Telecom at the government’s preferred price.
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