| DUBAI, Sept 1
DUBAI, Sept 1 Viva Kuwait, the country's second
biggest mobile phone operator by subscribers, plans to list on
the Kuwait Stock Exchange by year-end, nearly six years after it
completed an initial public offer of shares, the company's
chairman said on Monday.
The comments by Adel Mohammad al-Roumi were carried on
Kuwait's state news agency KUNA and followed a statement from
the company on Sunday that Viva Kuwait, an affiliate of Saudi
Telecom Co, had received regulatory approval to join
The company never publicly explained the delay in listing.
The global financial crisis appeared to play a role; from its
June 2008 peak, Kuwait's main stock index plunged nearly
60 percent to February 2009, and it remains about 53 percent
below that high.
The saga also underlined the complex and sometimes
unpredictable regulatory environment in Kuwait; periodically
during the last six years the company said it was preparing to
list, but the listing never happened.
Viva Kuwait raised 25 million dinars ($87.9 million) from
selling half its shares to Kuwaiti nationals in its IPO in
September 2008, beginning services later that year.
It has since thrived, and had a 33 percent share of Kuwait's
mobile subscribers at the end of June. Rival Zain had
36 percent and Ooredoo subsidiary Wataniya
had 31 percent, according to Zain's earnings report.
Viva Kuwait made a net profit of 24.3 million dinars for
2013, up from 3.87 million dinars a year earlier. Viva valued
its total assets at 178.99 million dinars at the end of 2013,
according to its annual report.
If it goes smoothly, Viva Kuwait's listing could help to
pave the way for a revival of IPOs in Kuwait, where activity
dried up after the financial crisis. The cabinet decided last
month to replace the head of the securities regulator, the
Capital Market Authority, after members of parliament criticised
it as too strict.
(1 US dollar = 0.2845 Kuwaiti dinar)
(Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Andrew Torchia)