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Bahrain firms plan IPOs

Manama, March 7, 2014

Telecom operator Zain Bahrain and a firm involved in running petrol stations are among the firms preparing for an initial public offer (IPO) of shares on Bahrain's stock exchange this year, a top bourse official said.

IPOs have been rare in Bahrain in recent years.

Zain Bahrain, the island's biggest telecommunications operator by subscribers, aims to break the IPO hiatus by launching its flotation by the end of June, in what could be the kingdom's biggest share sale since 2010.

This offer isn't the only one being prepared, Bahrain Bourse deputy chief executive Shaikh Khalifa bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

"There is another IPO," he said. "I cannot elaborate much about it, but they want to merge the gas stations in Bahrain and have them under one umbrella."

He did not name the company or give further details.

Bapco, the government-owned oil producer and refiner, owns a number of petrol stations in the kingdom. However, there are other, smaller operators.

Shaikh Khalifa said the bourse was looking at a number of ways to attract liquidity and listings, including the creation of a market for small and medium enterprises.

It also aims to launch next month direct membership access so that brokerages located outside the Gulf can buy and sell shares in Bahraini companies for clients, as long as they are in a country with an approved regulator.

As deputy CEO, Shaikh Khalifa is potentially a candidate to replace Fouad Abdul Rahman Rashid, who is due to retire this month after 11 years as CEO of the exchange. A statement on who will replace Rashid will have to come soon, Shaikh Khalifa said, but he wouldn't be drawn on whether he would be named the new head.

"This is something up to the board and I will be happy either way," he said. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: IPO | Bahrain | Zain | Stock Exchange |

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