In January, A.S. Watson sells its ice-cream business in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong to Unilever Group.
In February, the Group sells 50 million ordinary shares in Orange plc for HKD5.28 billion. Subsequently in October, the Group strikes the largest deal in the history of the company by agreeing to accept a conditional offer from Mannesmann AG for all of Hutchison's shares in Orange plc (44.81 per cent) for approximately HKD113 billion (USD14.6 billion) in cash, notes and shares of Mannesmann.
Hutchison Whampoa Finance (CI) Limited issues in March a 500 million euro- demominated fixed rate bond - the first euro-denominated long-term bond offering from an Asian corporate issuer. The bonds are listed on the Frankfurt and Hong Kong stock exchanges.
Harbour Plaza Kunming opens in April.
In June, the Group makes a further investment in VoiceStream Wireless Corporation (VSTR) of the United States to support the proposed merger between VSTR and Omnipoint Corporation. The investment, totalling USD957 million, increases the Group's interest in the merged entity to over 30 per cent.
Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited (HTAL) launches its Initial Public Offer in July and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in mid August.
A consortium, in which Hutchison Ports Netherlands B.V. (subsidiary of Hutchison Port Holdings) has a 35 per cent stake, signs an agreement on 1 November to acquire Europe Combined Terminals B.V. (ECT). ECT engages in the supply of stevedoring services at certain European ports, foremost Rotterdam.
On 1 November, Partner Communications in Israel is listed on the NASDAQ National Market and the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of USD2.4 billion. After its offering of shares to the public, Hutchison Whampoa will hold a 35.01 per cent stake in the company.
On 15 November, the Group announces the formation of a 50/50 joint venture with Global Crossing to pursue fixed-line telecommunications and Internet opportunities in Hong Kong. The joint venture is named Hutchison Global Crossing.
In December, NTT DoCoo, one of the world's largest and most advanced mobile phone companies, has agreed to acquire a 19 per cent strategic equity interest in Hutchison Telephone Company Limited, the Group's Hong Kong mobile operator, for a cash consideration of approximately USD410 million (HKD3,175 million). After the transaction, HWL retains a controlling interest of 55.9 per cent in the company, while Motorola continues to hold 25.1 per cent.
On 16 December, Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong (Holdings) together with other investors, establishes TOM.COM LIMITED. HWL and CKH own 40 per cent and 20 per cent of the company respectively.
On 18 December, Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited acquires 49 per cent of the equity shares in Sterling Cellular limited in India. The remaining 51 per cent in the company is owned by Essar Teleholdings Limited.