Faisel Gergab, the chairman of the Libya Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology Company (LPTIC) – which owns domestic cellular duo Libyana and Almadar Aljaded (Al Madar Telecomm Company) – has revealed that the state-backed holding company intends to float shares in market leader Libyana on the Libyan Stock Market (LSM) from 2014. While he stopped short of identifying what percentage of each business would be offered to the public, he stressed that the initial public offering (IPO) for Libyana would be aimed at local investors.
The Libya Herald adds that the smaller Almadar will be folded into the management structure of LAP Green Network, which is run by the Libyan African Investment Portfolio (LAP), itself part of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA). LAP Green’s primary focus is on other African markets, and the company has operations in Cote d’Ivoire, South Sudan, Uganda and Sierra Leone. In the meantime, Gergab has been working with consultancy firm Booz and Allen to develop new models for the two mobile operators, describing the LPTIC as ‘a bit of a monster’. A key area of concern is likely to be the expansion of 3G services within the country; Libyana launched 3G in 2006, but Almadar has yet to do so. Gergab noted that between them the two mobile operators generated revenues of around USD2 billion last year, of which just 1% was contributed by data services. As such, USD600 million-USD700 million has been earmarked for 3G network improvements.
Finally, with reference to the government’s recently announced plans to issue a third mobile licence within the next six months, Gergab admitted: ‘The announcement that a third operator licence is due to be awarded is bad news for us. It will put us under severe pressure to raise our game and improve our services. We need to work around the challenge and learn to think differently’.