HK’s i-Cable sees possible reprieve ahead of closure deadline

Troubled Hong Kong pay TV operator i-Cable is involved in last-minute moves to secure its future after ceasing trading yesterday, according to press reports.

According to the South China Morning Post, chairman Stephen Ng Tin-hoi, who is also chairman of parent company Wharf Holdings, told staff that the company had taken an important step towards securing its future, without giving further details.

Earlier, an investment consortium called Forever Top led by local businessman David Chiu Tat-cheong said it was interested in investing in i-Cable.

i-Cable shares ceased trading yesterday after losing over a fifth of their value since the start of this year. Wharf Holdings said last month that it would stop funding the loss-marking operator.

i-Cable is obliged to state whether it will  accept a 12-year renewal of its pay TV licence with the Hong Kong government next week. Without the licence, the operator will shut down its operations at the start of June.

i-Cable posted losses of HK$313 million last year, a deterioration from the HK$233 million loss posted in 2015.

If i-Cable shuts down, it will be the second pay TV provider to fold since the start of this year in a challenging market.

In January, broadcaster TVB said it was shutting down its loss-making pay TV service after issuing a profit warning.

i-Cable’s departure from the pay TV business would leave only PCCW’s Now TV standing.

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