June 27, 2009

GrameenPhone Expects to Enter Stock Market Soon

Bangladeshi mobile network operator, GrameenPhone expects to be able to proceed with its long planned stock market floatation in the very near future. GrameenPhone, 62 percent owned by Norway's Telenor, said on Saturday it expects to launch its initial public offering soon as it had fulfilled conditions set by the country's Securities and Exchange Commission. "We have fulfilled all requirements set forth by the SEC," said Ferdousur Rahman, a senior official at GrameenPhone.

Bangladesh's SEC had asked the company to refix the face value of the IPO to 10 taka from 1 taka to avoid volatility, SEC Chairman Ziaul Haque Khondker said. GrameenPhone has already raised USD 60 million through the pre-IPO private placement offer (PPO) to local institutional investors in December last year and aims to raise another
USD 65 million through the IPO.

With a market share of 47 percent, GrameenPhone is expected to draw plenty of investor interest. "The inclusion of GrameenPhone in stock markets will boost the confidence of the small investors who are the principal engine of economic growth," said broker Imtiyaz Husain.

GrameenPhone was founded in 1996 by Telenor and Grameen Telecom, which was launched by microfinance pioneer and Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. There has been tension in the past between the two co-owners of the phone network, with the Nobel Price winning founder of Grameen Bank claiming that Telenor has reneged on an agreement to allow the bank to take a controlling stake in the phone company.


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