Kuwaiti telecoms group Zain has bought an additional 6.25% stake in its Bahraini subsidiary for USD12.5 million to take its holding to 62.5%, a move which will help it to retain majority control after Zain Bahrain’s upcoming compulsory listing of 15% of its shares on the local stock market. Reuters reports that the company did not disclose which minority shareholders were involved in the transaction – which values Zain Bahrain at USD200 million. Among the minority stakeholders of the Bahraini mobile and broadband operator (with known stakes before the latest share purchase) are: chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali Abdulla al-Khalifa (16.3%), Vodafone Group (6.1%) and a government pension fund (4.7%). Under a clause in its licence the firm must hold an initial public offering (IPO) on the Bahraini bourse of at least 15% of shares, but an initial plan to list shares in 2008 was put on hold amidst the downturn in international financial markets, and the long-overdue listing is reportedly likely to be launched by the end of June 2014.
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