Three Muscat IPOs in Pipeline for 2014, Bourse Chief Says

As many as three companies in Oman are this year expected to offer shares to the public as the Muscat Securities Market seeks to build on government plans to sell state-owned assets, the bourse’s director general said.

Oman Arab Bank SAOC is planning an initial public offering by the middle of the year, Ahmed Saleh al Marhoon, MSM Director General, said in an interview in Abu Dhabi Feb. 16. Another two private companies are also ready to sell shares, al Marhoon said, declining to identify them.

Oman, the largest non-OPEC oil producer in the Arabian Peninsula, plans to reduce holdings in some state-controlled assets in phases and MSM has held discussions with the government on IPOs in the energy sector, al Marhoon said. Oman Oil Co., a sate-controlled energy producer, plans to sell shares of a subsidiary by the end of the year or early in 2015, he said.

Oman Arab Bank has discussed IPO plans with the Capital Markets Authority several times. “This time, the Central Bank has directed the lender to just keep the promise they made to the CMA,” al Marhoon said.

Oman International Development and Investment SAOG, or Ominvest, which holds a majority stake in Oman Arab Bank, said in a Feb. 9 statement on its website it is “seriously carrying out a complete and thorough analysis” of an IPO of the subsidiary. The company will tell the regulator within six months whether or not it will proceed, it said.

A spokeswoman for Ominvest did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The government, which owns 70 percent of Oman Telecommunications Company SAOG, the largest Omani telecommunications operator known as Omantel, is planning to reduce its stake to 51 percent through public subscription, the company said in a Sept. 17 statement. Al Marhoon said the process will be complete within a week.

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