Zain Seeks to Retain Control of Bahrain Network Following IPO

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Zain aims to retain control of its Bahrain subsidiary following a listing of shares on the local stock exchange although the exact details are still being worked out.

Zain currently owns 56.3 percent of the Bahrain subsidiary, and at least 15 percent of the stock needs to be listed on the stock market before the end of this year as a condition of its operating license.

It is likely that Zain will seek to buy out one of the other minority shareholders in order to ensure its holding is not diluted below 50%.

"We're still having a discussion as to whether it will be (a) primary or secondary (listing) and what the dilution factor will be," Zain's CEO, Scott Gegenheimer,  told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

"We prefer not to go below 50 per cent because we want to make sure we stay with a controlling interest."

Bahrain's second mobile licence was awarded to Zain in April 2003 and the network launched that December -- ending Batelco's monopoly. The company had planned to launch an IPO in 2008, only for the share sale to be abandoned.

On the web: Gulf Business

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