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Bahrain's Alba to launch IPO this year

Manama, September 22, 2010

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), owned by the country's sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) later this year, its chairman said yesterday.

'The listing will definitely happen this year,' Mahmood Al Kooheji said, confirming what sources familiar with the matter earlier said.

He said shareholders of Alba had not yet decided on the size of the stake but that proceeds of the IPO would be used by Mumtalakat to make investments.

Saudi Arabia's Sabic owns a minority stake in Alba. Mumtalakat, which bundles Bahrain's non-oil state-owned companies, is one of the major 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 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.

Al Kooheji said Alba will decide next year whether to add a sixth production line that would bring the capacity of its aluminium smelter to 1.5m tonnes annually.

A source earlier said that JP Morgan had been appointed as advisers on the IPO.

After a slump in IPOs in the Gulf in the last two years, Omani telecoms operator Nawras' IPO opened for subscriptions on September 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 IPO market.




Tags: IPO | Bahrain | aluminium | Alba | Mumtalakat |

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