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Let the bidding begin

Saudi Arabia puts a valuation on soon-to-be-floated Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and announces firm dates for opening up the country’s telecomms sector.

The Council of Ministers yesterday announced that 30% of Saudi Telecom will be floated before the end of the year at a price per share of SR170 (SR3.67 = US $1).

With around 240 million STC shares in existence, the government is valuing STC at approximately US $10.87 billion. The government therefore stands to net around US $3.26 billion from the selloff.

“The sale will be made through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) with two-thirds of the shares sold only to Saudi citizens and the rest to the state-run Pension Department and the General Organization for Social Insurance,” Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al Farsy told the official Saudi Press Agency.

The Council of Ministers meeting, chaired by Prince Abdullah, the regent, also announced dates for the liberalisation of the telecomms sector. Mobile phone services will be opened up first, in 2004, followed by land lines in 2008.

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