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Dublin High Court Finds Against Hutchison Challenge On Eircom - Sources

HONG KONG -(Dow Jones)- Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (0013.HK), the ports-to-telecom operator owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, has lost a motion in an Irish court to have its EUR2 billlion bid for troubled Irish telecom firm Eircom Ltd. "given due consideration," according to people familiar with the situation Friday. "The court has found against a challenge Hutchison and a related party had taken against the official Examiner appointed to Eircom," said one person. Last week, accounting firm Grant Thornton, which is handling the Irish telecom company's bankruptcy proceedings, or the examiner, rejected Hutchison's revised cash bid of EUR2 billion ($2.54 billion) in favor of giving control of the company to senior debt holders that are owed EUR2.7 billion. The creditors' meeting to finalize details, scheduled for Friday, will now go ahead, another person familiar with the situation said. Hutchison, which runs mobile operator 3 and owns ports globally, made its motion Tuesday in Dublin High Court jointly with DW Investment LP, a junior creditor of Eircom, the person said. Debt-ridden Eircom filed on March 30 for examinership--the Irish equivalent of bankruptcy protection--and Grant Thornton is its examiner, or the company handling the bankruptcy process. DW Investment LP, which owns EUR350 million in floating-rate notes of Eircom, stands to receive nothing under a restructuring plan by senior creditors that the examiner favors, but EUR50 million if Hutchison's bid wins. Eircom's senior creditors include the private-equity firm Blackstone. -By Nisha Gopalan, Dow Jones Newswires; 852-2832-2343; nisha.gopalan@dowjones.com --Eamon Quinn in Dublin contributed to this article

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