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Sun 29 Apr 2007 02:16 PM

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Bahrain plans IPO of Alba

Government plans a share offering of up to 40% of the Aluminium firm.

Bahrain plans to sell up to 40% of Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) in an initial public offering, the chairman said in remarks confirmed to Reuters on Sunday.

The government holding firm and the finance ministry, which will be responsible for the sale, said it was too early to give a size for the stake that would be offered in the IPO. Alba produces 830,000 tonnes per year of aluminium.

Alba Chairman Esam Fakhro told Al Waqt newspaper that the government, which owns 77%, had not yet decided on a timetable.

"The expected percentage of the firm to be offered by the government will be roughly 30 to 40 per cent, but no timeline has yet been set," Al Waqt newspaper quoted Fakhro as saying.

The chairman's office confirmed the remarks but company officials declined to give further details.

Bahrain has said it is on a privatisation drive, and this month offered shares in Seef Properties, owner of the island's largest mall, in an initial public offering.

Saudi Arabia owns 20% of the firm, and German group Breton Investments owns 3%.

Fakhro also said Alba was going to expand in response to increasing aluminium consumption, which he said was growing at 4% a year. The newspaper did not give further details.

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