Blow to DIFX as Oger pulls float

Saudi-controlled telecoms firm cites 'regional markets volatility' as it abandons Dubai and London listings at the last minute
By Ben Flanagan
Mon 20 Nov 2006 08:00 PM

Oger Telecom has called off its proposed listing on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) at the last minute amid increasing concern over the volatility of local markets.

The company – which provides services in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – had planned to declare details of pricing and a listing date this morning.

Oger had previously announced that it would offer $1.25 billion in shares on the DIFX and in Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) listed on the London Stock Exchange.

It was expected that Oger would offer shares at between $1.15 and $1.42, and GDRs - each representing ten shares - at between $11.50 and $14.20. The float would have valued the company at up to $8 billion.

The decision to pull the listings was made at around 4am London time, just three hours before the company was due to announce a date for the IPO in a statement to the London Stock Exchange. A press conference scheduled for 12.30pm in Dubai has also been cancelled.

Oger Telecom blamed ‘regional volatility’ as the reason behind the decision in a statement made this morning.

‘Despite over-subscription throughout the price range, with good support from investors in the Middle East, in the light of increasingly challenging and volatile regional market conditions, the Company and principal selling shareholders deemed that it was no longer advisable to proceed,’ the company said.

The company – controlled by Lebanon’s Hariri family – had previously expressed acquisitive ambition when it headed a consortium to buy a $6.55 billion controlling stake in Turk Telekom, Turkey’s former state-run telecom monopoly. It outbid Etisalat, one of the UAE’s two licensed telecoms operators, in acquiring the stake.

Mohammed Hariri – who is related to Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister who was killed last year – is chairman of Saudi Oger, which owns 40 per cent of the telecoms company. Simon Duffy, executive vice-chairman and former boss of NTL, is non-executive director of the group.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.