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Reuters Summit-Hutchison plans India IPO in 2006; eyes Spain

Written by: Staff

HONG KONG, March 1 (Reuters) Ports-to-telecoms conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. said on Wednesday that its cellular carrier in India aimed to go public this year to help fund its expansion in the world's fastest-growing mobile market.

The company, also the most aggressive investor in European third-generation telecoms, also said that it was eyeing Spain as a potential market for expansion but has not made any decision.

In India, the group's Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. unit has been aiming since last year to list its majority-held Hutchison Essar arm. Part of the delay resulted from the wait for regulatory clarification on how much a foreign company can own in an Indian carrier.

''I think there is every intention for us to go IPO, subject to market conditions. This year will be a safe bet,'' Hutchison Whampoa Managing Director Canning Fok told the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit.

As for Spain, Hutchison has in the past held talks for a stake in 3G licence holder Xfera, the Spanish firm's shareholder ACS said last May.

Fok declined to comment on Xfera, but said of the Spanish market: ''(We are) interested, but haven't come to a conclusion yet.'' REUTERS SD SSC1502

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