Hutchison Whampoa sues KPN over 3G funds

Hutchison Whampoa sues KPN over 3G funds

Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong part-owner of Hutchison 3G, is suing partner KPN Mobile NV for damages after the Dutch company refused to provide £150 million ($US250 million) in funding to the UK 3G (third generation) company earlier this year.

Hutchison 3G UK made a funding call to its three shareholders, Hutchison Whampoa, NTT DoCoMo and KPN, for £1 billion ($US1.67bn) earlier this year. It received £650 million ($US1.09bn) from Hutchison Whampoa and £200m ($US335m) from NTT DoCoMo (the amounts reflecting each shareholder's stake), but KPN Mobile did not pay its £150m ($US250m) share, a Hutchison UK spokesman said.

Hutchison's view is that KPN Mobile is in material breach of the shareholder agreement in terms of pro rata shares of funding.

However, KPN Mobile said it considered the "invalid" funding call to have put Hutchison in breach of the shareholder agreement, and it would strenuously resist Hutchison's claim for damages.

KPN Mobile also served a notice on May 27 requiring Hutchison Whampoa to buy its shareholding in Hutchison 3G at 140 per cent of the "fair price" of the company, as it believed it was entitled to do under the shareholders agreement, it said.

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