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Kharafi asks investors to sell Zain stock

Kuwait City, September 16, 2009

Kuwaiti family conglomerate Kharafi Group has invited shareholders in telecoms firm Zain to sell their shares as part of a consortium, as it works to gather a 46 percent stake to sell to foreign investors.

Shareholders who own no more than 300,000 shares in Zain, as of September 6, can enter the selling consortium led by Al-Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate Co, a firm owned by Kharafi, according to an advertisement in local papers on Wednesday.

'We hope that these procedures would reflect how keen the head of Al-Khair Group is to achieve and protect the interests of small investors and give them priority,' National Investments Co, another Kharafi-owned firm who is handling the sale, said in the advertisement.

Kharafi's Al-Khair is the second-largest shareholder in Zain with a 11.283 percent stake, according to bourse data, but analysts estimate Kharafi's stake to be around 20 percent through other units.

State-run Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the country's sovereign wealth fund, owns a 24.61 percent stake.

Last week, Kharafi said a consortium of Indian telecom companies and a Malaysian investor would buy a 46 percent stake in the Arab world's third-largest telecom company in a deal valuing the stake at about $13.7 billion, making it one of the biggest foreign acquisitions in the Gulf region.

The buying consortium is made up of India's little-known Vavasi Group, regional telecom companies Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam, and Malaysian billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, said Kharafi.

Just a day after the deal was announced, however, both state-run Indian firms said they had not decided on whether to join the consortium, raising doubt that the deal would actually go through. - Reuters




Tags: Stake | Zain | Kharafi Group |

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