The board of Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has decided to delist the company’s shares from the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE) on 26 February 2009, according to a press release. The Qatari group said it took the decision because of consistently low volume trading of its shares on the BSE and the incremental administrative requirements inherent in the group’s multiple share listings, necessitated by its recent international expansion. Qtel does not anticipate that the delisting will adversely affect the liquidity of the stock, its shareholders or other investors. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Qtel listed on the Doha Securities Market in 1998, the BSE in 2001, the Abu Dhabi Securities Market in 2002, and also has a global depositary receipt (GDR) listing on the London bourse (since 1999). Its 51%-owned subsidiary Wataniya Telecom is listed on the Kuwait stock market, whilst the group is currently attempting to take majority control of Indonesian operator Indosat.
In related news, Qtel is reportedly preparing to sell further shares to finance its continuing international acquisition strategy, after ruling out increasing its debt pile to fund new purchases of licences or operators. According to GlobalComms, Qtel initially relied on debt financing to fund its expansion into 17 countries, and by the end of September 2008 its consolidated debt was over QAR29 billion (USD8 billion), compared with around QAR1 billion at the end of 2006. The Qatari government participated in Qtel’s QAR5.86 billion (USD1.6 billion) rights issue in June 2008 to help fund further acquisitions. In 1998 45% of the company’s equity was sold to the public and government-related agencies. No single entity (other than the state) may own over 10% of Qtel’s capital (with telecoms firms limited to 5%).