Omani cellco Nawras, majority-owned by Qatari incumbent Qtel, has said it plans to boost investment this year to increase market share, and has hired two banks to advise on a possible initial public offering (IPO). ‘We will invest OMR100 million (USD259.8 million) in infrastructure, people, marketing and customer services in 2008,’ CEO Ross Cormack told Reuters in an interview. Nawras spent OMR80 million last year on capital projects, and has engaged an international bank and a ‘major’ local bank to advise on selling a 40% stake, Cormack said. The company’s licence requires it to sell shares to the public by 2010.
In October 2007, Oman’s government cut royalties on mobile phone services to 7% from 12%, and applied the cut retroactively from the start of the year. ‘The royalty cut saved us [up to] OMR2.5 million last year, so it would save at least that much this year… we will use investments that it frees up to build further infrastructure this year than we would have done,’ said the CEO.