According to Reuters Africa, state-owned Libyan mobile phone operators Al Madar Telecomm and Libyana will definitely be floated on the North African country’s stock exchange by the end of April 2011. Gamal Al-Lamushe, the chairman of Libya’s privatisation and investment board, told the news agency: ‘We are working on it with Al Madar and Libyana. Probably about 2% to 5% – that is the maximum that will be floated’.
In October, chairman of the Bourse, Suleiman Shehoumi indicated that the two companies would each list 30% stakes on the local stock exchange in early 2011, but Al-Lamushe has contradicted Shehoumi’s assessment, stating: ‘I don’t think that much will be floated. The capacity of the Libyan stock market is very limited. It will not be a good idea to float such a big amount of capital’. As previously reported in CommsUpdate, Shehoumi said that the two cellcos would be among as many as 20 local firms expected to list themselves on the exchange in 2011. The move suggests further progress in the gradual opening up of Libya’s economy; long-standing international trade sanctions were lifted by the US in 2004, after Libya publicly turned its back on weapons of mass destruction. TeleGeography notes that reports concerning the privatisation of Libya’s telecoms sector have circulated regularly since 2007, adding an element of doubt to predictions that the flotation will go ahead as planned in 2011.