Hutchison’s 3 Group has finally reported a profit, almost eight years after starting services in Europe and Australia. For the full year ended 31 December 2010, the group – which has networks in the UK and Ireland, Italy, Australia, Sweden and Denmark – reported EBIT (Earnings Before Interest & Taxes) of HK$2.93 billion (US$376 million). This compared to a loss the previous year of HK$8.92 billion. It’s worth noting, though, that this 2010 profit is not ‘net’ income. In a statement, Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa said “3 Group revenue grew 10 percent in local currencies for the year and after translation to Hong Kong dollars, increased 11 percent to total HK$64,205 million.” It added that all operations, except 3 Ireland, achieved EBIT positive operating results in the second half of 2010. “The improvement in 3 Group’s operating results reflect customer base and revenue growth and a continuing focus on reducing operating costs,” noted the statement. Its 3G customer base grew 13 percent in the 2010 period to total 29.6 million worldwide. 6 million of those are mobile broadband customers (generally defined as connections via datacards, dongles, USB modems and embedded laptops), a 32 percent increase from last year.

Hutchison said it expects the 3 Group to continue to make a positive contribution to the Group’s 2011 EBIT results, “barring any significant adverse market or regulatory developments.” It added that “the Group has entered a new era when the 3 Group will no longer be a drag on profits and [will] instead make a positive contribution.”