Hutchison Whampoa Limited - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Hutchison Whampoa Limited

Hutchison House, 22nd Floor
10 Harcourt Road
Hong Kong

Company Perspectives:

The Group is diversified both by business segment and geographically and will continue to benefit from this diversity. Currently the Group operates in 36 countries. The Group will continue to prudently expand its existing core businesses in Mainland China and overseas while maintaining its solid home base of operations in Hong Kong. China's prospects are promising with its recent accession to the World Trade Organisation which is expected to provide significant investment opportunities. Overseas operations are expected to continue to provide substantial contributions to the Group. The start-up European 3G businesses, although they are expected to incur start-up losses over the near term, are viewed as investments that will provide future earnings growth and value creation.

History of Hutchison Whampoa Limited

Hutchison Whampoa Limited, a vast conglomerate based in Hong Kong, has become a force to be reckoned with in real estate, ports, retailing, manufacturing, telecommunications, infrastructure, and energy. As one of Hong Kong's most venerable hongs (colonial trading houses), Hutchison began as an importer and wholesaler before diversifying in the 1960s. Bloated and unwieldy in the 1970s, the company (then known as Hutchison International) unloaded dozens of companies, strengthened its bottom line, and merged with Hongkong and Whampoa Dock (in 1977) to form Hutchison Whampoa Limited. Taken over by Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited in 1979, Hutchison Whampoa soon dominated the world's second busiest East-West trading and shipment ports system; owned substantial property in Hong Kong's pricey real estate market; and held major shares of top performing infrastructure, energy, investment, retailing, and telecommunications companies. With Hong Kong's return to Chinese ownership in July 1997, Hutchison Whampoa, along with other colony companies, began a new era of corporate life.

Colonial Roots, 1800s to Mid-1900s

Hutchison Whampoa's immense success was in great part due to the Opium Wars between the British and the Chinese. The first round, fought from 1839 to 1842 and easily won by the British, secured the use of Hong Kong and five ports for open trade through the Treaty of Nanking. The second round, from 1856 to 1858, was resolved through the Tientsin treaties that gave Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United States further access to Asian trade through 11 additional ports. Although the resolution of opium conflicts spawned many companies responding to free trade, the two companies that later became Hutchison Whampoa Limited were directly influenced by the Second Opium War and its consequences.

Hutchison Whampoa's roots lay in two of Hong Kong's earliest colonial trading companies. The first, Hutchison International, was established as an importer and wholesaler of consumer products by John Hutchison in 1880. The second company, Hongkong and Whampoa Dock, preceded Hutchison by nearly two decades. Founded in 1861, a year after the Kowloon peninsula was added to China's Treaty of Nanking secessions of 1842, Hongkong and Whampoa Dock was the crown colony's first registered company. In the beginning the company's future was somewhat uncertain; its owner, John Couper, had disappeared during the second opium conflict and was presumed kidnapped and dead.

Whampoa carried on, under new management, with its dry dock operations located on the deepwater port of Canton, one of China's largest and busiest cities and the first Chinese port frequented by Europeans. Four years after its charter, Whampoa purchased its first Hong Kong docks. Linked by the Canton-Kowloon railroad, Whampoa expanded its prominence as a transshipment gateway between Hong Kong, China, and the world. By 1898 when the New Territories (the mainland area joining Kowloon, along with Deep Bay, Mirs Bay, and well over 200 offshore islands) were leased to the British for the next 99 years, both Whampoa and Hutchison International were well established in the area.

Hong Kong, though separated from its erstwhile parent country both geographically and politically, was affected by China's upheavals over the next several decades. The Boxer Uprising (1898-90), the end of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, and the advent of World War I sent ripples through Hong Kong's trading, yet World War II did by far the most damage when the Japanese occupied the colony. Throughout these tumultuous years, both Hutchison International and Whampoa continued their businesses and managed to grow.

A Jewel of the Crown: 1950-79

In the 1950s Hutchison International and Hongkong and Whampoa Dock thrived independently. Hong Kong became an increasingly busy worldwide port despite its small land mass (just shy of 399 square miles). By the mid-1960s Hutchison International was being run by Sir Douglas Clague, who had big plans for the 85-year-old company. Clague began a far-flung diversification program by buying controlling interest in A.S. Watson and Hongkong and Whampoa Dock. The former retailed soft drinks, drugs, and food through supermarkets and drugstores, while Whampoa's dry dock operations had expanded throughout the Hong Kong area. After Watson and Whampoa, Clague caught acquisition fever and gobbled up a myriad of companies in the following years. In 1969 Hutchison entered the property development sector, and in 1973 the firm acquired Park 'N Shop supermarkets.

By the mid-1970s most of Clague's kingdom was crumbling around him, which forced the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank to step in and rescue Hutchison. Pouring money into the company (for what amounted to more than a 20 percent stake), the Bank sent Clague packing and brought in Australian spinmaster "Dollar" Bill Wyllie to turn Hutchison around.

Wyllie lived up to his name and reputation during his tenure and markedly reduced expenses in a few short years. In 1976 he sold off 103 companies; a year later he acquired the remaining interest of Hongkong and Whampoa Dock and merged it with Hutchison. The rechristened company, Hutchison Whampoa Limited, was in good financial shape and controlled much of Hong Kong's dock activity through its shipyards and container terminals. In 1978 the company went public, listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange under the ticker symbol HUTH. To Wyllie and Hutchison Whampoa's management, the sky was the limit for the revitalized company. Yet despite his profound impact, Wyllie would have a short tenure at Hutchison.

A mere two years after the merger and one year after going public, Hongkong & Shanghai Bank unexpectedly sold its 22.8 percent interest in Hutchison Whampoa for half of its worth. The new owner, Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited, was run by the legendary Li Ka-shing, one of Hong Kong's richest men.

New Ownership, New Directions, 1980-89

Hutchison Whampoa's acquisition thwarted any plans Wyllie may have had of his own and he left the company in 1981, with Li becoming chairman. Li Ka-shing came to his power and prominence the hard way. Soon after fleeing China in 1940, Li's father died and the 13-year-old was faced with supporting his family. Working for a manufacturer of plastics and watchbands, Li sold plastic flowers on the street. By the time he was 23, he had saved a few thousand dollars, which he invested in his own plastics company. This company, eventually named Cheung Kong (Holdings), became the colony's largest private property developer and was responsible for building about 25 percent of Hong Kong's new apartments annually.

As the 1980s progressed and the Hong Kong-China reunification drew closer (in July 1997), many residents and businesses began to fret about the changes of reverting to Beijing's control. When the Chinese government remained adamant about their sovereignty rights, leaving little room for negotiation, the resulting economic slump affected both Hong Kong and the mainland. To all appearances, however, Hutchison Whampoa was doing exceedingly well, with revenue reaching just over $671 million (HK$5.2 billion) in 1984. That same year China and Great Britain announced a new agreement over the colony's status to quell mounting uneasiness and stop the flight of some 50,000 business professionals per year. Although Hong Kong would be allowed to keep its own legal system and capitalist economy, China, nevertheless, would retain ultimate control of the land mass and its surrounding bays and islands.

Another mitigating factor of the 1980s was the ongoing problem of losing precious land to the sea, making Hong Kong real estate increasingly valuable. In response to the shrinking marketplace, Whampoa's former dockyards at Hung Hom were razed to make way for the Whampoa Garden complex. Mid-decade brought Simon Murray, a former French paratrooper and Foreign Legionnaire, to Hutchison Whampoa's helm as managing director. By the time Murray arrived, the company's Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) unit had become the world's largest privately-owned container terminal operator, helping pump turnover to nearly $705.4 million and income to $154 million in 1985 into the company.

Hutchison began diversifying again in the mid- to late 1980s, this time into utilities (Hongkong Electric, with a complete monopoly on Hong Kong's electric service), mining (the United Kingdom's Cluff Resources), oil (Canada's Husky Oil), and telecommunications (in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and Australia). Involvement in the latter began in 1985 with the establishment of Hutchison Telephone Company Limited, which was formed to launch Hong Kong's first cellular telephone system. In two short years from 1985 to 1987, revenue had almost doubled from $705 million to $1.36 billion and income rose from $154 million to $240 million. By 1989 income had grown to $391 million on turnover of $2.3 billion.

A World Leader: 1990-96

Hutchison Whampoa extended its telecommunications network through a three-way joint venture with Cable & Wireless and the China International Trust & Investment Corporation (CITIC) in 1990, sending the AsiaSat I (a 2,750-pound refurbished Hughes satellite), into space. The next year Hutchison Whampoa was on a roll: the AsiaSat I was put to use for STAR TV, broadcasting to 38 Asian countries (or roughly 52 percent of the world's population) through another three-way joint venture between Hutchison (18 percent), News Corp. (63 percent), and Li (19 percent); Millicom, a U.K. cellular phone company, was added to Hutchison's telecommunications unit (making it the largest cellular provider in the United Kingdom); and nearly all of Whampoa Garden had been sold by year's end.

The company's HIT unit augmented its operations with 75 percent of Felixstowe Ltd., the U.K.'s leading container port, in 1991 and a half-interest in Shanghai's container port in 1992, furthering its dominance as the world's largest privately owned container terminal operator with 65 percent of Hong Kong's container traffic (over 200 container trucks passed through its gates every hour). On the heels of these accomplishments came 1992 figures of $2.7 billion in turnover and an income dip from 1991's $428 million to just under $393.6 million because of a weak year for Husky Oil (whose shares the company had unsuccessfully tried to sell) and continuing setup costs for telecommunications expansion.

With Hong Kong's 99-year lease nearly over and Communist rule looming on the horizon, Hutchison Whampoa, like many companies based in the colony, hoped a solid footing with Beijing would ensure a smooth transition. To this end Hutchison continued to develop joint ventures for mutual advantage, because, as Li diplomatically told Financial World, "economic pluses outweigh political minuses." In 1993, amidst a flurry of new agreements with the mainland, Simon Murray left Hutchison because of disagreement over the company's future. Yet it was business as usual, when Chinese officials announced their intention to build the country's largest commercial store ever, with the bulk of its financing (95 percent) coming from Hutchison. When year-end figures were released, the company had ample reason to celebrate: income rose 107 percent from 1992's $393.6 million to $813 million on turnover of $3.2 billion. A good portion of these profits were attributable to the sale of Hutchison's and the Li family's interests in STAR TV to News Corp. for $525 million, a figure that was six times the amount originally invested.

The next year, 1994, Hutchison bought the remaining interest in Felixstowe Ltd., after paying Orient Overseas a reported $75 million for its 25 percent share. The firm's telecommunications unit launched a digital mobile phone service in the United Kingdom under the brand name "Orange." Additionally, Hutchison entered into another deal involving several Hong Kong and Chinese partners investing $120 million in Shanghai property. As Hong Kong real estate reached a critically limited state, Hutchison increasingly turned to China for lucrative property transactions. Hutchison finished the year with slightly less than $3.9 billion in revenue and broke the $1-billion-mark for income, the majority coming from Hong Kong businesses, 5 percent from Asia, 2 percent from the United States, and a loss from the European group due to the costs of setting up its new telecommunications ventures.

The telecommunications unit got a boost in 1995 with the coming expiration of Hongkong Telecom's monopoly on domestic fixed service networks. Along with two other competitors, Hutchison received approval to develop its own services. In real estate, Hutchison paid $125 million to buy out the Hong Kong Hilton's lease to tear down the hotel in favor of more marketable developments. Though the recently refurbished hotel was quite profitable, the value of its land parcel far exceeded its worth. Hutchison turnover for 1995 was $4.5 billion, up 16 percent from 1994, and income rose 19 percent to $1.2 billion.

In 1996 Hutchison announced plans for a new company, Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited, to consolidate its telecommunications interests, which included mobile phones, fixed lines, and paging systems. The company formed Orange plc as a holding company for its U.K. telecommunications operations and then sold 30 percent of Orange on the London and New York stock exchanges, reducing the company's effective stake to 48.2 percent. Hutchison also bought back a 25 percent share of its domestic paging business from Motorola. As the company's last year under British rule, 1996 brought downturns in both Hutchison's container terminals and real estate units. Yet by the end of the year ports and real estate were recovering and expected to post satisfactory gains. Hutchison's 168-year-old retailing and manufacturing division, A.S. Watson & Company, continued to thrive in 1996 with a virtual monopoly of supermarket and drugstores in Hong Kong and more in China, Taiwan, and Singapore; and Orange, Hutchison's European telecommunications gamble, was taking hold in its market while a similar service in Hong Kong was expected to rival Hongkong Telecom.

Dealmaking Par Excellence, Late 1990s and Beyond

In March 1997 Li engineered a major restructuring and streamlining of his Hong Kong business empire. During the previous year Li had spun out of Cheung Kong and taken public a new entity called Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited (CKI), which held the infrastructure investments in China and Hong Kong of the Li family. Initially, Hutchison Whampoa held a 4 percent stake in CKI, but this stake was increased to 85 percent as part of the March 1997 restructuring. Hutchison Whampoa also transferred its 35 percent stake in Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited to CKI, thereby reducing its stake in Hongkong Electric to 30 percent. Finally, Cheung Kong's stake in Hutchison Whampoa was increased from 45.4 percent to nearly 49 percent. These moves greatly simplified Li's holdings. Cheung Kong remained at the top and retained control of Hutchison Whampoa, which now served as the umbrella holding company for Li's wide-ranging interests in ports, real estate, supermarkets, telecommunications, and other businesses, including infrastructure. The latter operations were now amalgamated within CKI, which had become a majority-owned subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, and CKI was now positioned, just in advance of the return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule, to focus on infrastructure projects in China, where it was already involved in toll roads, toll bridges, and power plants. Among other developments in 1997, Hutchison Telecommunications Limited moved into the U.S. wireless telephone market for the first time with the purchase of a 19.9 percent stake in Western PCS Corporation, which was soon renamed VoiceStream Wireless Corporation.

The diverse nature of Hutchison's operations and the breadth of their geographic reach helped mitigate the effects of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, although Hutchison saw its net income fall 31 percent in 1998, declining from $1.63 billion to $1.12 billion. Developments in 1998 included the formation of Harbour Plaza Hotel Management (International) Limited, a joint venture between Hutchison and Cheung Kong (Holdings) that was formed to manage the group's hotels in Hong Kong, mainland China, and the Bahamas and to develop hotel operations in other markets.

Li Ka-shing's reputation as a consummate dealmaker was greatly enhanced by a series of blockbuster deals that began in 1999. In October of that year Hutchison sold its 45 percent stake in Orange plc to Germany's Mannesmann AG for $14.6 billion, part in cash and part in the form of a 10 percent interest in Mannesmann. Then in February 2000 Vodafone AirTouch PLC acquired Mannesmann, leaving Hutchison with a 5 percent stake in Vodafone. Hutchison promptly sold 30 percent of this stake, raising about $5 billion in the process and swelling the company's horde of cash to more than $13 billion.

In the meantime, Hutchison Whampoa in 1999 made a further investment of $957 million in VoiceStream Wireless, in support of that firm's acquisition of Omnipoint Corporation. This increased Hutchison's stake to more than 30 percent. In May 2001 Deutsche Telekom acquired VoiceStream, and as part of the transaction Hutchison exchanged its stake for $885 million in cash and a 4.9 percent stake in the German company, representing a profit of about $3.8 billion on an investment that lasted less than four years.

There were still other developments on the telecommunications front during this period. In November 1999 Hutchison Whampoa entered into a $1.2 billion joint venture with Global Crossing Ltd. to develop a fiber-optic telecommunications network in Hong Kong. By January 2002, however, the debt-strapped Global Crossing had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and after discussions of a possible Hutchison takeover of the U.S. fiber-optic company collapsed, Hutchison bought out Global Crossing's shares in the joint venture. In April 2000 Hutchison used some of its huge stockpile of cash to invest in the next-generation wireless telephone system, known as 3G, which would incorporate high-speed Internet connections and video. That month the firm acquired a 3G license in the United Kingdom for $6.7 billion. Later in the year Hutchison sold 20 percent and 15 percent stakes in the license to NTT DoCoMo of Japan and KPN Mobile of the Netherlands, respectively, for a total of $3.15 billion. Subsequently, Hutchison purchased 3G licenses in Italy, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand.

Outside of telecommunications, Husky Oil, the Canadian energy concern 49 percent owned by Hutchison Whampoa, merged in August 2000 with Renaissance Energy to form Husky Energy Inc. The new company, one of the largest integrated oil and gas companies in Canada, was then taken public, reducing Hutchison's stake to 35 percent and giving Hutchison a profit of $540 million in the process. In December 1999 Hutchison entered the media field through the establishment of Limited, which was initially owned 40 percent by Hutchison and 20 percent by Cheung Kong (Holdings), with the remainder held by other investors. Launched as an Internet portal and taken public in February 2000, morphed into a media conglomerate through a series of acquisitions. By early 2002, had become the largest publisher of print media in Taiwan, the largest outdoor advertising firm in China, and the dominant player in the sports marketing industry on the mainland. There were other purely e-commerce ventures as well. In January 2000 Hutchison joined forces with Inc. to expand Priceline's name-your-own-price Internet model into Asia through a new venture called Hutchison-Priceline Limited. During 2001 Hutchison and Cheung Kong (Holdings) each purchased approximately 15 percent of the stock of Priceline itself. Then in April 2002 the Hutchison-Priceline venture launched a Priceline-model Internet travel service for Asia.

Despite difficult economic conditions around the world in 2001, Hutchison Whampoa posted a healthy net income figure of $1.55 billion on revenues of $7.88 billion. Having parlayed his investments in Orange, VoiceStream, and other businesses into a huge pile of cash estimated at $7 billion in mid-2001, the 72-year-old Li Ka-shing continued to head up Hutchison and its parent company and to take big gambles. It appeared that Li's son Victor was the heir apparent, but it was far from apparent when the heir might take over from Li, who had often said that he would retire after Hong Kong reverted to Beijing's control. Li was gambling on the Internet and the 3G high-speed wireless system, just when those sectors had grown out of favor, the former because of the bursting of the dotcom bubble and the latter because of delays in the technology's development. It nevertheless seemed foolhardy to bet against Li, who had often confounded the skeptics on his way to building a global powerhouse.

Principal Subsidiaries: PORTS AND RELATED SERVICES: Buenos Aires Container Terminal Services S.A. (Argentina; 64%); Ensenada International Terminal, S.A. de C.V. (Mexico; 64%); Europe Container Terminals B.V. (Netherlands; 76%); Freeport Container Port Limited (Bahamas; 95%); Harwich International Port Limited (U.K.; 90%); Hongkong International Terminals Limited (87%); Hutchison Delta Ports Limited (Cayman Islands); Hutchison International Port Holdings Limited (British Virgin Islands); Hutchison Ports (UK) Finance Plc (90%); Hutchison Westports Limited (U.K.; 90%); Internacional de Contenedores Asociados de Veracruz, S.A. de C.V. (Mexico; 82%); Karachi International Container Terminal Limited (Pakistan; 82%); Logistics Information Network Enterprise Limited (Cayman Islands); Mid-Stream Holdings Limited (British Virgin Islands); Myanmar International Terminals Thilawa Limited (85%); Panama Ports Company, S.A. (82%); Port of Felixstowe Limited (U.K.; 90%); PT Ocean Terminal Petikemas (Indonesia); PT Jakarta International Container Terminal (Indonesia; 51%); Thai Laemchabang Terminal Co., Limited (Thailand; 56%); Tanzania International Container Terminal Services Limited (63%); Thamesport (London) Limited (U.K.; 90%). TELECOMMUNICATIONS: H3G S.p.A. (Italy; 88%); Celltel Limited (Ghana; 80%); HI3G Access Aktiebolag (Sweden; 60%); Hutchison 3G Austria GmbH; Hutchison 3G UK Limited (65%); Hutchison Telecommunications Argentina S.A. (90%); Hutchison E-Commerce International Limited (British Virgin Islands); Hutchison Paging Services Limited; Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited; Hutchison Telecommunications PCS (USA) Limited (British Virgin Islands); Hutchison Telecommunications Limited; Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited (58%); Hutchison Telecommunications Paraguay S.A.; Hutchison Telephone Company Limited (75%); Lanka Cellular Services (Private) Limited (Sri Lanka). PROPERTY AND HOTELS: Aberdeen Commercial Investments Limited; Cavendish Hotels (Holdings) Limited (51%); Elbe Office Investments Limited; Foxton Investments Limited; Glenfuir Investments Limited; Grafton Properties Limited; Harley Development Inc. (Panama); Hongville Limited; Hutchison Estate Agents Limited; Hutchison Hotel Hong Kong Limited; Hutchison International Hotels Limited; Hutchison Lucaya Limited (Bahamas); Hutchison Properties Limited; Hutchison Whampoa Properties Limited; Hutchison Whampoa Properties (Management & Agency) Limited; Hybonia Limited; Mossburn Investments Limited; Omaha Investments Limited (88%); Palliser Investments Limited; Provident Commercial Investments Limited; Rhine Office Investments Limited; Trillium Investment Limited (Bahamas); Turbo Top Limited; Vember Lord Limited. RETAIL AND MANUFACTURING: A.S. Watson & Company, Limited; A.S. Watson European Investments S.a.r.l. (Luxembourg); A.S. Watson Group (Europe) Holdings Limited (British Virgin Islands); A.S. Watson Group (HK) Limited (British Virgin Islands); Fortress Limited; Hutchison Harbour Ring Limited (Bermuda; 50.5%); Hutchison Whampoa (China) Limited; Park 'N Shop Limited; Powwow Limited (U.K.); Savers Health and Beauty Limited (U.K.); Watson Park'N Shop Limited (Taiwan); Watson's Personal Care Stores Pte. Ltd. (Singapore); Watson's The Chemist Limited. ENERGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE: Anderson Asia (Holdings) Limited (85%); Cheung Kong China Infrastructure Limited (85%); Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited (Bermuda; 85%); Green Island Cement (Holdings) Limited (85%). FINANCE AND INVESTMENTS: Binion Investment Holdings Limited (Cayman Islands); Cavendish International Holdings Limited; Hongkong and Whampoa Dock Company, Limited; Hornington Limited (British Virgin Islands); Hutchison International Finance (BVI) Limited (British Virgin Islands); Hutchison International Limited; Hutchison OMF Limited (British Virgin Islands); Hutchison Whampoa (Europe) Limited (U.K.); Hutchison Whampoa Finance (00/03) Limited (Cayman Islands); Hutchison Whampoa Finance (CI) Limited (Cayman Islands); Hutchison Whampoa Hongville Finance Limited (Cayman Islands); Hutchison Whampoa International (01/11) Limited (British Virgin Islands); Ottershaw Limited (British Virgin Islands); Strategic Investments International Limited (British Virgin Islands; 87%); Hutchison Whampoa Europe Investments S.a.r.l. (Luxembourg); Willesden Limited (British Virgin Islands); Zeedane Investments Limited (British Virgin Islands).

Principal Operating Units: Ports and Related Services; Telecommunications; Property and Hotels; Retail and Manufacturing; Energy and Infrastructure.

Principal Competitors: Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited; Swire Pacific Limited; The Wharf (Holdings) Limited; New World Development Company Limited; Sime Darby Berhad; HSBC Holdings plc.


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