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Zain Arm Draws Weak Demand For First Bahraini IPO Since 2010

Zain Arm Draws Weak Demand For First Bahraini IPO Since 2010

Money raised from the offering will be used to fund upgrades of its network infrastructure as well as expand its super-fast 4G LTE offering in the kingdom.

Zain Bahrain saw weak demand from investors for its initial share sale despite doubling the amount of time for subscriptions, with only just over a third of the offering sold to the public, a company statement said on Monday.

The unit of Kuwait-based telecommunications provider Zain was the first company to go public in Bahrain since 2010, selling a 15 per cent stake at BD0.19 per share to raise BD9.1 million ($24.1 million).

Money raised from the offering will be used to fund upgrades of its network infrastructure as well as expand its super-fast 4G LTE offering in the kingdom.

Only 16.7 million shares, equivalent to 34.8 per cent of the offering, was sold to retail and institutional investors, according to figures provided by Zain Bahrain.

The remaining 31.3 million shares will be acquired by the investment banking arm of Gulf International Bank, which underwrote the initial public offering.

The result came despite the initial two-week subscription period for the share sale being extended by a further two weeks to Sept. 30.

The IPO was the first in the Gulf state since Aluminium Bahrain listed a 10 per cent stake in November 2010.

The kingdom’s bourse suffers from poor liquidity, with trading activity the lowest in the Gulf region this year, making it unattractive to companies to list.

However, like in many Middle Eastern countries, Zain had to list part of its operations in Bahrain as part of its licence agreement signed in 2003.

Zain held 63 per cent of the Bahraini unit prior to the IPO and will keep majority control following the sale of new shares.

Zain Bahrain competes with former monopoly Batelco and the local unit of Saudi Telecom.

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