Wataniya Palestine Mobile Telecommunications Company, the second licensed mobile network operator in the Palestinian Territories, has announced it aims to raise USD50.3 million through an initial public offering (IPO) in which it will sell off a 15% stake. According to Bloomberg, the operator will make 38.7 million shares available to the public between 7 November and 2 December, with the price set at USD1.3 per share. HSBC Bank Middle East will co-ordinate the IPO. Commenting on the development, Bassam Hannoun, Wataniya Palestine’s CEO, noted: ‘There is still a lot of potential for growth in our home market … That’s why we’ve chosen to sell shares now.’ The funds raised by the sale are expected to be put towards network expansion.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, despite having been declared the highest bidder for a combined 2G and 3G cellular concession in September 2006, with a reported bid of JOD251 million (USD354 million), it was not until November 2009 that Wataniya inaugurated commercial services in the West Bank. As at end-September 2010 Wataniya Palestine, which is majority-owned by Kuwait-based Wataniya (itself owned by Qatar Telecom), had 302,404 subscribers, of which the bulk (90.2%) were pre-paid.