Nawras Seeks to Raise Up to $608 Million in Oman IPO

Nawras, the phone company controlled by Qatar Telecom QSC, is seeking to raise as much as $608 million in Oman’s first initial public offering in two years.

Nawras set a price range of 702 baisas to 902 baisas per share, the Muscat-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. The bookbuilding process for the sale starts Sept. 15 for a month. The sale will raise 182 million rials ($473 million) to 234 million rials, giving Nawras a market value of as much as 586 million rials, it said.

The company that competes with Oman Telecommunications Co., the largest phone operator in the Persian Gulf country, plans to sell 40 percent of its shares and will offer 260 million shares through the book-building process, it said Sept. 2. Nawras, which started operations in 2005, has a 45 percent share of the sultanate’s mobile-phone market.

“We’d like to do with the fixed-line business what we’ve done with the mobile business over these years,” Nawras Chief Executive Officer Ross Cormack said today in a telephone interview from Muscat. There is “still a real opportunity for growth in this sector.”

The penetration rate for fixed-line broadband services is between 2 percent and 10 percent in Oman, Cormack said.

Share Listing

Middle Eastern companies delayed share sales as regional economies recovered from the impact of the worst global recession since the Great Depression. The last initial public offering in Oman was in August 2008 when Sohar Power Co. sold shares. Nawras’ IPO will be the seventh from companies in the Gulf this year after six from Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy.

Nawras is in touch with 150 institutional investors across the Middle East and Europe, Cormack said on Sept. 2. The Omani phone provider plans to sell 30 percent of the shares to institutional investors and the rest to retail investors, he said.

The final price of the offer will be announced Oct. 24 and the company expects to start trading on the Muscat Securities Market on Oct. 27, according to today’s statement. BankMuscat SAOG is the issue manager, while the bank will be the joint book-runner with Morgan Stanley, it said.

For the six months ended June 30, Nawras had revenue of 91 million rials and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 51 million rials. Qatar Telecom shares rose 0.8 percent to 171.3 rials at the 12:30 p.m. close in Doha.

One Omani rial comprises 1,000 baisas and book-building is a process in which potential investors say how many shares they would buy and at what price.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at zhankir@bloomberg.net

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