July 2, 2009

GrameenPhone Finally Receives Consent for IPO

Last Saturday, GrameenPhone, the country's top mobile phone operator, expected to launch its Initial Public Offering soon as it had fulfilled conditions set by the country's Securities and Exchange Commission. Today, at last it gets the regulatory nod to penetrate the share market, in what will be country's biggest ever public offer. The company received official approval from the SEC on its IPO application submitted last December, SEC executive director Farhad Ahmed told reporters after a meeting on Thursday.

The approval comes after winding up a constructive dialogue involving the SEC and GrameenPhone in recent weeks, GP said in a press release. GP filed its ultimate IPO application with the SEC in December 2008 and had submitted the final prospectus in January 2009. Remarkably the valuation of the company
and the proposed price remains unchanged, as per the original application, GP said.

"We are delighted to have the official consent from the SEC and look forward to an expeditious launching of the public offer and successful listing of our shares in country's bourses" said GP's CEO Oddvar Hesjedal. He added that GP would fast-track the course of fulfilling required conditions and formalities.

Among the conditions set by the SEC for the approval are that GP would have to convert the face value of the offered shares from Tk 1 per share to Tk 10 per share. GrameenPhone shareholders have further decided to revise the total offer size, including Initial Public Offering and Pre-IPO, from 8.95 per cent to 10 percent of its total share capital.

Citigroup Global Markets Bangladesh Private Limited will continue to be the Private Placement Agent, Issue Manager and Lead Underwriter for the Pre-IPO and IPO. The company submitted its first application in July last year, valuing itself at $3.2 billion and proposing to raise around Tk 2000 crore or $300 million.

The draft prospectus proposed to raise half the amount through IPO and the rest from private placement or Pre-IPO. The company submitted a fresh application on November, halving its original target. The second application proposed to raise up to $75 million from the capital market through the IPO, and up to $50 million from institutional investors through a pre-public offering.


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