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Oman's sale of 19% of Omantel to start next week

Oman will begin the sale of a 19 percent stake in its former telecommunications monopoly Omantel


Muscat: The private placement of Omantel shares, the first part of Oman government's programme to divest 19 per cent (142.5 million shares) stake in the telecommunications firm, will commence next week. 

It appears that the portion of private placement and initial public offering (IPO) are equally divided into two.

The plan is to privately place 71.25 million shares in Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) to Omani institutions and high net worth individuals by way of a book-building process, said Saud bin Nasser Al Shukaily, who heads the supervisory committee for Omantel disinvestment at the Ministry of Finance.

The minimum application size is two million shares and interested investors can obtain the private placement memorandum and the investor qualification form from the issue managers — Bank Muscat. 

Upon the successful completion of the private placement, the public issue of 71.25 million shares, which is envisaged as the second phase of the divestment process, is expected to open to Omani individuals hopefully by the end of March. 

Al Shukaily, who is also the secretary-general for taxation at the Ministry of Finance, said that the vision of the government, which is to increase the ownership in the nationally strategic institution and also enhance the active and widespread public participation in the privatisation process initiated by the government.

Earlier, Bank Muscat, the financial advisors and issue managers for the ministry said that they were encouraged with the robust response received from some key Omani individual and institutional investors to the market sounding exercise conducted by the bank to gauge investor interest to the Omantel issue.

Omantel is the number one telecommunication company in Oman with a domestic subscriber base of over three million and over 58 per cent mobile network market share by the end of third quarter of 2013.

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