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Aluminium Bahrain plans IPO at year-end-sources

Aluminium Bahrain to launch IPO this year-sources.

September 22, 2010 9:52 by

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), owned by the country’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) later this year, two sources familiar with the matter said.

“It’s planned for November or December,” one source said, but declined to say how much Alba was looking to offer.

One of the sources said JP Morgan had been appointed as advisors.

A spokesman for Mumtalakat could not immediately comment. Mumtalakat, which bundles Bahrain’s non-oil state-owned companies, is one of the smaller sovereign wealth funds in the world’s top oil-exporting region, with $9.1 billion in assets at the end of 2009.

The fund, which also owns Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air, plans to divest some of its local holdings and diversify its portfolio to more international and more liquid assets.

Alba, operator of an aluminium smelter in Bahrain, posted a full-year net loss of $220.7 million in 2009, compared with a profit of $781.9 million the year, before due to lower aluminium prices, according to a Mumtalakat investor presentation from June.

After a slump in IPOs in the Gulf in the last two years, Omani telecoms operator Nawras’ IPO opened for subscriptions on Sept. 15 and will test whether deal pricing meshes with market sentiment.

Telecoms and energy sectors as well as government assets are expected to lead a revival in the Gulf Arab IPO market.

(Reporting by Frederik Richter; Editing by David Holmes)

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