Executives shuffled after So resigns

HONG KONG — Telco and multiplatform content and interactive services provider PCCW unveiled annual profits down 21.5% to HK$1.25 billion ($160.3 million) and an exec shuffle on Thursday.

PCCW deputy chairman and group managing director Jack So resigned after three years with the company.

Chief financial officer Alex Arena will take his spot while finance director Susanna Hui will become CFO as of April 30.

Company said So resigned for personal reasons; there was speculation in the local press that So’s discretionary bonus based on his performance was being cut by 65% for last year.

PCCW has No. 2 paybox Now Broadband TV and a new mobile business and plans to add high-speed data and video services next month to its quadruple-play offering.

“We made the sound decision to invest in new technologies and businesses during 2006 to maintain our market leadership and build a solid foundation for the future,” Arena said. “From 2007, we can begin to see the benefits as we unleash the potential of quadruple play.”

Revenue was up 14% to $3.3 billion for the year ended Dec. 31. Revenue for TV and content business jumped 71% to $94.7 million as subscribers of Now Broadband TV swelled to 758,000, up 38% from last year.

“Our success in winning the exclusive English Premier League live broadcasting rights for Hong Kong … should support continued strong growth of Now TV,” PCCW said in a statement that accompanied the results.

Mobile subscriber numbers jumped 25% to 921,000 as 3G trial users switched to monthly service plans in the second half of the year.

PCCW plans to install 3,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Hong Kong by mid 2007 to support its dual-mode mobile/Wi-Fi handsets.

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