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Orascom’s Bangalink working on IPO -bourse head

Banglalink would be the second operator to list on the bourse.

September 20, 2010 10:57 by

The Bangladesh unit of Egyptian mobile firm Orascom Telecom is working on an initial public offering (IPO), the head of the Dhaka Stock Exchange said, potentially giving a boost to the country’s tiny market.

Banglalink, Bangladesh’s second-biggest mobile operator by subscribers, would be the second operator to list on the bourse after the top operator Grameenphone raised $70 million in an IPO last year.

“The company (Banglalink) is working to be listed on the stock exchange. I have been informed by the company secretary that it would go for an IPO without issuing a pre-IPO private placement,” Md. Shakil Rizvi, president of Dhaka Stock Exchange, told Reuters on Sunday.

The company is expected to be listed on the $40 billion exchange next year, he added.

Grameenphone, majority owned by Norway’s Telenor had also raised $70 million in a pre-IPO private placement in 2008. Its IPO last year was the stock exchange’s biggest.

Bangladesh’s mobile sector has grown rapidly, with subscriber numbers reaching nearly 62 million, up from 200,000 in 2001, helped by fierce competition among the country’s six operators and by steady economic growth.

Banglalink had 16.8 million subscribers at the end of July — far fewer than Grameenphone’s 27.3 million, but ahead of third-ranked Robi, majority owned by Malaysia’s Axiata which had 11.3 million.

Competition intensified further following slow growth last year after India’s leading telecoms firm Bharti Airtel bought 70 percent of Abu Dhabi Group’s Warid Telecom in January.

Banglalink brought in some $214 million in revenue, about 10 percent of Orascom’s total revenue, in the first six months of 2010. Orascom runs and invests in mobile operators in countries including North Korea, Algeria, Burundi, Canada and Egypt.

Executives at the firm’s headquarters in Cairo were not immediately available to comment.

(By Ruma Paul, Additional reporting and writing by Alexander Dziadosz in Cairo; Editing by Hans Peters)

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