Cellco Zain Bahrain is likely to launch its long-overdue initial public offering (IPO) of its shares on the local stock market by the end of June this year, according to a Reuters report quoting an ‘industry source’. Following years of delays, the Kuwaiti-owned operator was instructed to complete an IPO of 15% of its shares on the Bahraini bourse ‘by the end of December 2013’ to comply with its licence terms, a spokesman for Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said in April 2013. The Zain Group unit, which was licensed in 2003, had planned to launch an IPO in 2008, but the listing plan was suspended for economic reasons. In April 2013 Zain said it had received approval to launch the overdue IPO, while simultaneously it was reported that the Bahraini government had ordered it to float the shares. Zain Group holds a 56.25% stake in Zain Bahrain, 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.
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