Omantel IPO set open to public May 24

There have been several failed attempts to privatise Omantel over the years, and the Oman government appointed HSBC, Muscat Bank and Fincorp to oversee the initial public offering.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  May 4, 2005

Subscription for shares in the soon-to-be-privatised Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) is set to open to the public May 24, according to local press reports. A total of 225 million shares are said to be on offer, representing 30% of the telco’s issued stock. There have been several failed attempts to privatise Omantel over the years, and the Oman government appointed HSBC, Muscat Bank and Fincorp, which is managed by the finance ministry, to oversee the sell-off process including valuation, due diligence and initial public offering. It has been reported that the price of the offering will stand at RO1.3 (US$3.36) per share, which will see the telco raising over US$750 million in total. Eighteen percent of the 30% stake on offer is set to go on sale to the public, 9% to local pension funds and 2% to strategic customers as a loyalty measure. One percent of the stock has been set aside for Omantel employees as part of a staff retention programme. Last month, the sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al-Said issued a decree that authorised the government to restructure Omantel into a joint stock company and offer shares to the public, kick starting the latest process. It has been decreed that the initial offering of shares will be limited to Oman citizens, but expatriate residents of the sultanate will be able to acquire shares thereafter. Fixed line penetration in Oman was estimated at less than 10% at the end of 2004, representing approximately 240,000 subscribers. National fixed-line capacity stands at 270,000 lines, with talk of a new fixed line operator set to be introduced into the market in 2007. Speaking to CommsMEA about the privatisation process, Oman Mobile managing director Amer Awadh Al Rawas said, “We believe we will receive a greater sense of loyalty and belonging from our potentially large number of shareholders, as opposed to a single shareholder.”

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