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Kuwait launches IPO for mobile firm No. 3

Half of Kuwait Telecom Company's capital of 500mn shares are up for grabs.

Kuwait on Sunday launched an initial public offering (IPO) for the emirate's third mobile phone company which is expected to start operating later this year, officials said.

Under the IPO, open until September 18, half of Kuwait Telecom Company's capital of 500 million shares will be available to Kuwaiti citizens only for a nominal price of 100 fils (37 cents) plus a five fils premium per share.

Salman al-Badran, head of the new mobile phone project, said in a statement the IPO will raise $98.3 million.

Last November, Saudi Telecom (STC), the largest Arab telecommunications firm, won a 26-percent stake in Kuwait Telecom Company after bidding 248.7 million dinars (931.4 million dollars) to become the main operator.

The government will hold the remaining 24 percent.

Kuwait currently has two mobile operators - Zain, established in 1983, and National Mobile Telecommunications Co (Wataniya), operating since 1999. Together they have 2.5 million clients in a country of 3.4 million people.

Last week Zain launched an IPO to increase its capital by 75 percent to raise around 4.5 billion dollars to finance massive expansion abroad.

STC, in which the state has a 70-percent stake, currently provides services to 20 million mobile subscribers in the oil-rich kingdom. It also has more than five million landlines.

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