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Vodafone Qatar CEO says IPO progress "comfortable"

Vodafone Qatar plans $929.1m in IPO; aims to list on the Doha bourse by June.

The Qatari unit of Vodafone Group said on Friday the progress of its initial public offering which began on Apr 12 was "comfortable".

Vodafone Qatar aims to raise QAR3.38bn riyals ($929.1m) in the IPO and wants to list its shares on the Doha bourse by June.

Asked if the IPO was going to be oversubscribed, Grahame Maher, the unit's chief executive, told Reuters: "We will be comfortable. There are a lot more institutional investors showing interest."

HSBC Holding plc and Qatar National Bank are advising on the sale, one of the first in the Gulf Arab region this year as the global downturn weighs on investors sentiment.

Only two IPOs have come to market in the first three months of the year, compared to 13 in the same period in 2008, Ernst & Young (E&Y) said in a report published last week.

Vodafone, which won the bid for Qatar's second mobile telephone licence for $2.12 billion in December 2007, will compete with state-controlled Qatar Telecommunications Co (Qtel), which until now had run the country's only mobile and fixed-line networks.

The unit is targeting a market share of 33 percent in three years, its CFO said last month. (Reuters)

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