Wharf to challenge ruling in UIH case

HONG KONG — Wharf Cable has pledged to fight a decision this week by a Denver court to award $125.5 million in damages to Denver-based telecommunications company United Intl. Holdings.

UIH claims that Wharf Holdings, the parent of Hong Kong’s lone cable operator, reneged on a deal to sell it 10% of Wharf Cable. Wharf denies that it gave UIH an oral option to buy the stake.

“The company is considering exactly what steps it will take next, but intends vigorously to contest the award,” Wharf said in a published statement Thursday.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado awarded UIH $67 million in compensatory damages and $58.5 million in exemplary damages.

Wharf argued that the case should have been heard in Hong Kong. The territory does not award exemplary damages and would not have heard a similar case in front of a jury.

Wharf, which began operating in 1993 and has yet to make a profit, has a monopoly through 1998. The company said it expects to record its first operating surplus in 1998 but anticipates no pre-tax profit before 2000.

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