CK Hutchison held talks with Telenor about combining their respective mobile operations in Denmark and Sweden, Financial Times reported, as the conglomerate eyes in-market consolidation opportunities for some of its 3-branded units.

The rumours follow the release of CK Hutchison Holding’s 2022 earnings statement, which includes its various other business interests including ports, retail and infrastructure alongside its telecoms company.

In the filing, it noted its business which runs 3 Group Europe would be “exploring in-market consolidation opportunities, as well as pursuing initiatives to effect an asset-light strategy, including network sharing, in order to enhance profitability”.

Telenor declined to comment on reports of its involvement in any discussions.

Financial Times reported its sources said talks were in the early stages and CK Hutchison had also scoped out other options.

GSMA Intelligence statistics for Q4 2022 place CK Hutchison’s 3 operation in Denmark as the third-largest by mobile connections, with 1.5 million. Telenor ranked second on 1.6 million, behind TDC (3.3 million).

In Sweden the pair are third and fourth in the market by the same metric, with 3 Sweden on 2.4 million and Telenor almost 3 million. The top two are Tele2 (4 million) and Telia (4.7 million).

Alongside the rumours about the future of CK Hutchison’s businesses in Sweden and Denmark, the company has been in talks for months with Vodafone Group about a potential tie-up in the UK.