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Zain Moving Closer to Bahrain Stock Market Listing

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The stock market listing of Zain's Bahrain subsidiary has moved closer following the publication of a formal notice in the government gazette.

The company is required to list its shares on the local stock exchange as a condition of its operating license, but missed the deadline to do so by the end of last year.

Zain Bahrain is 56.3% owned by Kuwait's Zain and is required to list at least 15 percent of its shares for the public. The parent group has previously said that it wants to retain control of the company after the stock market listing, so may need to persuade the other shareholders to reduce their stake.

Zain Bahrain's other shareholders include chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali Abdulla al-Khalifa, with a 16.3 percent stake, Vodafone which holds 6.1 percent, and a government pension fund which owns 4.7%.

The gazette notice gives the other investors in the company 60 days to object to the share listing, although as it is a license condition, objections are not expected.

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.

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Tags: zain  Bahrain