Zain Bahrain must complete an initial public offering (IPO) of 15% of its shares on the local stock market by the end of December to comply with its licence terms, a spokesman for Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) confirmed to Reuters. Kuwait’s Zain Group won Bahrain’s second mobile licence in 2003, and the unit had planned to launch an IPO in 2008, but the listing plan was suspended. Last week the company said it had received approval to launch the overdue IPO, while simultaneously it was reported that the government had ordered it to float the shares. Zain Group holds a 56.25% stake in its Bahraini unit, while minority shareholders include Zain Bahrain’s chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali Abdulla al-Khalifa (16.3%), Vodafone Group (6.1%) and a government pension fund (4.7%). It is unclear whether Zain Group’s ownership stake will be reduced below 50% via the IPO, which would result from shareholders selling shares on a proportional basis.