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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nawras to sell shares in Oman

Updates with CEO’s comment in third paragraph.)
September 01, 2010, 8:07 AM EDT

By Faizul Haque and Zahra Hankir
--Editors: Shaji Mathew, Claudia Maedler.
To contact the reporter on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Nawras, the phone company controlled by Qatar Telecom QSC, plans to sell 40 percent of
its shares in Oman’s first initial public offering in two years.

Nawras will offer 260 million shares at a nominal price of 100 baisas through a one-month book-building process starting Sept. 15, Chief Executive Officer Ross Cormack said in Muscat today. The company will provide a price range on Sept. 7.

Middle Eastern companies delayed share sales as regional economies recovered from the impact of the worst global recession since the Great Depression. Oman’s last initial public offering was in August 2008 when Sohar Power Co. sold shares. Oman’s benchmark MSM30 Index has lost 35 percent in the past two years. Nawras’ share sale is the seventh in Gulf Arab countries this year after six from Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy.

The Omani phone provider plans to sell 30 percent of the shares to institutional investors and the rest to retail investors, Cormack said. Morgan Stanley, Bank Muscat SAOG and QNB Capital are lead managers of the sale, while Morgan Stanley and BankMuscat will be the book-runners.

Nawras, which started operations in 2005, has a 45 percent share of the sultanate’s mobile-phone market and competes with Oman Telecommunications Co., the largest operator in Oman. For the six months ended June 30, the company had revenue of 91 million rials ($236 million) and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 51 million rials.

One Omani rial comprises 1,000 baisas and book-building is a process in which potential investors say how many shares they would buy and at what price.

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