Zain Bahrain IPO moves step closer with notice in government gazette

DUBAI Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:22am EST

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Zain Bahrain has moved a step closer to launching a long-awaited initial public offer of its shares after the telecommunications operator announced its intention to become a public company in a government newsletter.

Under the terms of its license, Zain Bahrain - the kingdom's No.1 mobile operator by subscribers and 56.3 percent owned by Kuwait's Zain (ZAIN.KW) - must sell 15 percent of its shares in an IPO and list on the Bahrain bourse.

Zain Bahrain missed a 2013 deadline to do so, but a source last week told Reuters that the company planned to launch its share sale by the end of June in what could be the island's first IPO since 2010.

The company's announcement in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce's gazette, published on Thursday, said the ministry had received Zain Bahrain's request to become a public company and that any objections should be submitted within 60 days.

The investment banking arms of National Bank of Kuwait (NBKK.KW) and Bahrain's Gulf International Bank are advising on the IPO.

(Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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