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Oman’s Nawras plans to raise as much as $608 mln in IPO

Retail investors to subscribe initially at higher end.

September 7, 2010 9:03 by

Oman’s Nawras, a subsidiary of Qatar Telecommunications Co, on Tuesday said it plans to raise as much as $608 million in its 40 percent initial public offering (IPO) sale as it sets a price range of between 702 to 902 baisas for the offer.

Nawras, which broke the monopoly of state-controlled Omantel in 2006, plans to offer 260 million shares in Oman’s first IPO in two years, a source told Reuters last month.

If the offer is fully subscribed, Nawras would raise 182 million rials ($472.7 million) at the lower end of the range and about 234 million rials ($607.8 million ) at the higher end based on the number of shares allotted for sale.

Retail investors will initially subscribe at the higher end of the range, Nawras said in a statement. Any refunds will depend on the final pricing and allocation of shares to investors, the company added.

As much as 70 percent of the offering is open to individual investors, while the remaining part of the issue will be open to institutional investors.

Final share price for the IPO will be determined on October 24 and the shares will be listed in the Muscat bourse on October 27.

Morgan Stanley, BankMuscat and QNB Capital are lead managers of the sale, while BankMuscat is the sole issue manager to the sale.

According to the Capital Market Authority (CMA), the Sultanate’s regulator, companies planning to go for IPOs in Oman need to float 40 percent of their share capital as a minimum requirement.

Gulf IPO activity nearly came to a halt in 2009 as a result of the financial crisis with the total value of IPOs in the Middle East and North Africa falling 83 percent, according to a report by consultancy Ernst & Young.

Activity has been muted in 2010 too with most regions, except Saudi Arabia, seeing no public offerings in the first half.

(Reporting by Dinesh Nair and Rachna Uppal, Editing by Shaheen Pasha)

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