Zain wants to keep majority control of Bahrain unit after IPO

2 Dec 2013

Kuwaiti telecoms giant Zain Group intends to retain majority control of its Bahraini subsidiary after the unit’s initial public offering (IPO), Reuters reports. Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai, Zain CEO Scott Gegenheimer said that the matter is yet to be decided, commenting: ‘We are still having a discussion as to whether it will be [a] primary or secondary [listing] and what the dilution factor will be’.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, 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. 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. However, Gegenheimer said: ‘We prefer not to go below 50%, because we want to make sure we [retain] a controlling interest.’

Further, the executive revealed that the company is still aiming to fulfil the licence requirements and launch the IPO by year-end: ‘Procedure-wise, we have most of the clearances we need. We have appointed the lawyers, investment bankers, underwriters, so most of the work is already done.’

Bahrain, Vodafone Group, Zain Bahrain, Zain Group