CK Hutchison hailed the performance of its European telecoms operation after earnings growth from the unit outstripped its other divisions during 2017.

In its annual earnings statement, the company reported increased revenue and operating profit for its 3 Group Europe during 2017. Revenue was up 13 per cent year-on-year to HKD70.7 billion ($9 billion), with operating profit up 29 per cent to HKD16.6 billion. Net profit figures are not broken down by division.

The company attributed the growth to the contribution of its Wind Tre joint venture, which commenced operation in Italy during January 2017, in addition to disciplined spending and improvements in customer service processes.

3 Group Europe comprises its wireless operations in the UK, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Austria and Sweden.

In a statement, the company said 3 Group Europe had: “continued to improve its networks and service offerings and accelerated investment in advanced digitalisation solutions to achieve a more agile, flexible, sustainable and lower cost operating model going forward.”

CK Hutchison also owns fixed and wireless assets in a number of Asian markets and operates in the retail, energy, infrastructure, property, life sciences and port sectors. Group profit grew 6 per cent in 2017 to HKD35.1 million.

Alongside its annual results, the company confirmed chairman Li Ka-shing will step down from the post on 10 May after leading the company for 46 years. He will be replaced by his son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, who is currently group co-managing director.