Etisalat's Egyptian unit considers stock market listing

Reuters

CAIRO (Reuters) - The Egyptian arm of Abu Dhabi-based mobile operator Etisalat is considering listing its shares but has not decided on which bourse to do so or who will organise the initial public offering (IPO) for the firm, it said on Monday.

Egypt's financial regulator changed its rules earlier this year to boost trading and attract investment on the country's bourse, making it easier for companies wishing to list on the stock exchange.

The last major IPO on the Egyptian exchange was in 2010. Since then, Egypt's capital markets have been hit by the political turmoil that has gripped the country since the uprising that swept autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak from power in early 2011.

Islamist President Mohamed Mursi was overthrown by the army in July last year following mass protests. The military-backed interim government is due to be succeeded by an elected parliament and president within months. Army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency and win.

Egypt's main stock index bounced back to a five-and-a-half year high last month.

"Etisalat (Misr) is studying the best option for floating its shares on the bourse and the appropriate market for them, either on the Egyptian bourse or outside it," the Egyptian company said in an emailed statement.

"It is expected that the study will end soon, especially after the positive indicators that the Egyptian bourse has witnessed lately."

The company said previous preparations for an IPO had been put on hold because of the political climate, but that the recent surge in stocks due to optimism that Egypt's economy is recovering had prompted it to resume the plans.

Etisalat Misr competes in Egypt's mobile market with Vodafone Egypt and Mobinil, which is controlled by France Telecom. Etisalat owns a 66 percent stake in Etisalat Misr.

Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates' biggest telecoms operator by revenue and subscribers, missed analysts' forecasts with a 70 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit this month after it took impairments on Nigerian and Indonesian operations.

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