Economy hits Hong Kong’s I-Cable

Company issues a profits warning

HONG KONG — Hong Kong cable network operator I-Cable on Friday became the latest company to show the scars of the global economic slowdown when it issued a profits warning.

In a statement the company warned that it may report a loss for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, as compared with a profit after tax of HK$183 million ($23.6 million) a year earlier.

“Deteriorating economic conditions and intense competition since (August) continued to make a negative impact on the group’s business, resulting in further revenue and margin erosion,” according to the statement. “In addition, the group expects to make a special provision for set-top boxes to be replaced in 2009 upon the launch of the next-generation transmission encryption system and to book losses from film investments.”

Company, which is understood to have considered taking itself off the stock market, faces an aggressive competitor in PCCW’s IPTV-based Now TV.

I-Cable’s Sundream Motion Pictures subsidiary has been involved with recent films including “Champions,” “Plastic City” and “Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon.”

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