The Saudi affiliate of Mobile Telecommunications (Zain) said its shareholders may sell more than the originally planned 40 per cent stake in an initial public offering.
Owners of Zain Saudi Arabia, the kingdom's third mobile phone operator, had planned to sell 560 million shares to the public in the first quarter, and 70 million shares to each of state-owned General Organisation for Social Insurance and the Public Pension Agency. A Saudi government institution declined to buy the shares because it did not fit its investment strategy, Asharq al-Awsat reported last month, without identifying the body or saying how it got the information.
"The IPO stake sale might increase since the Saudi government encourages broader participation," Marwan al-Ahmadi, Chief Executive Officer of Zain Saudi Arabia, told reporters in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Monday. He would not be more specific.
Ahmadi said he was "officially unaware" of any Saudi government institution declining to buy shares. The IPO may start next month, he said.
Zain owns 25 per cent of the company, which last year paid $6.11 billion for its operating licence.
Investors are looking to raise about 7 billion riyals ($1.87 billion) in the share sale, Ahmadi told Reuters in November. (Reuters)
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