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Hong Kong Port Workers to Resume Talks as Strike Enters 15th Day

Striking dockworkers at Hongkong International Terminals Ltd., the port operator backed by billionaire Li Ka-shing, will resume talks with their employers today after discussions yielded no agreement yesterday.

The meeting is scheduled at 2:30 p.m. and officials from Hongkong International will attend as observers, the company said in an e-mailed statement. About 450 workers have been staying away from the world’s third-biggest container port since March 28, demanding a 25 percent increase in wages and better working conditions.

Shipping lines including Evergreen Marine Corp. Taiwan Ltd. and Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd. diverted vessels or skipped calling at Hong Kong, as the strike caused delays. Hongkong International Terminals was running at about 80 percent of usual operating levels, the company said this week.

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, operator of Hongkong International Terminals, rose 1.2 percent to 85 cents as of 11:55 a.m. in Singapore trading. The stock has gained 7.6 percent this year.

Li denied a Sing Tao report that said the billionaire intervened in the talks and may increase wages by more than 5 percent, the port operator said in the statement. The workers are employed by contractors and not directly by Hongkong International Terminals.

Li’s Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. is the largest shareholder in Hutchison Port Holdings Trust. Hutchison Port controls more than half of Hong Kong’s port capacity with its partner Cosco Pacific Ltd. The trust’s terminals in Shenzhen also control 46 percent of the market there.

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