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Mon 1 Oct 2007 08:46 PM

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IPO of Kuwait's third telco only open to nationals

Only nationals eligable to buy shares in Third Mobile Telecommunications, company chairman says.

Kuwaiti nationals only will be able to buy shares that the government is selling in an initial public offering (IPO) of the country's third mobile phone company, the company's chairman said on Monday.

In the IPO, Kuwait is planning to sell half the shares in the Third Mobile Telecommunications, which is being created.

"Under the law approved by parliament, the IPO will be open to Kuwaitis," Chairman of the founding committee Adel Al-Roumi told Al Arabiya television news. The IPO will be at the start of next year, he said.

The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), which is managing the share sale and of which Roumi is an official, has not previously said who will be eligible for the IPO.

Telecom operators and listed local companies have until November 18 to bid to buy 26% of the planned company. The government will retain 24%.

The new operator would compete with Zain and National Mobile Telecommunications (Wataniya) in the nation of about three million people.

UAE-based Etisalat is among the companies that have expressed an interest in bidding for a stake.

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