Telco Plans Bangladesh's Biggest IPO

Bangladesh's largest mobile-phone operator, GrameenPhone, plans to list on the Dhaka stock exchange by June after what is expected to be the nation's largest initial public offering

Bangladesh's largest mobile phone operator, GrameenPhone, plans to list on the Dhaka stock exchange by June, after it holds what is expected to be the nation's biggest IPO, an AFP report said.

The AFP report said company, 62% owned by Norwegian telecom company Telenor, has more than 16 million of Bangladesh's 32 million cellular subscribers.

GrameenPhone has named Citibank as its adviser for the IPO, Bangladesh's telecommunications regulatory body said in a statement.

An announcement would be made later on the number of shares that would be sold, the regulator said.

Grameen Telecom, owned by micro-finance giant Grameen Bank, set up by 2006 Nobel peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus, holds the remaining 38% of GrameenPhone, the AFP report added.

"GrameenPhone is the largest company in the country (by sales) and a lot of people are waiting to have slice of the pie," Yawar Sayeed, CEO of Bangladesh's AIMS brokerage, quoted by the AFP report, said.

Sayeed said he expected the IPO to be the largest in the nation's history as the company is valued at more than $5 billion.

The biggest IPO in Bangladesh so far was by the country's private Shahjalal Islami Bank, which raised $13.4 million in early 2007.

Representatives of Telenor and Grameen Telecom met officials of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission and said they would list the company by June, the regulator said.