Vodafone partnership paying off: Hutchison

Vodafone partnership paying off: Hutchison

Hutchison Telecom Australia (ASX:HTA) swung to a full-year profit of $73.4 million as the result of its tie-up with Vodafone Australia.

The company, which operates the 3 brand and is half of the joint venture Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), said the result compares to an underlying loss of $119.6 million in 2009.

Hutchison Australia's share of VHA's ebitda grew 171% to $475.8 million in 2010, while its share of service revenue increased 16.8% to $2.2 billion.

Operating margin also improved 22% to $1.7 billion, as the result of lower domestic roaming costs because of the network sharing component of the partnership.

VHA's combined customer base grew by 681,000 to nearly 7.6 million, of which 59.4% are on postpaid plans. Average revenue per user (ARPU) stayed flat at $54.

But network improvement and integration projects led to Hutchison Australia's share of VHA capital expenditure increasing 27.6% to $301.5 million.

The company said VHA was in talks over commercial terms for transmission backhaul over the NBN, and is working towards being included in an NBN Co customer trial in the second half of 2011.

Hutchison Australia said it expected VHA to remain profitable and generate positive free cash flows in 2011, but did not provide guidance estimates.

Hutchison Australia is a subsidiary of Hutchison Telecom International, which is itself 60% owned by Hong Kong port and telecom company Hutchison Whampoa.

HTA shares grew 4.17% to $0.100 in Thursday's trading following the announcement.

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Tags VodafoneTelecommunicationsfinancial resultsvhajoint ventureHutchison Australia

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