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Mon 18 Feb 2008 10:05 AM

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Qatar energy plans 66% services firm IPO

State-owned energy company to make public offering for three companies in February.

State-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) said on Sunday it would sell a 65.8% stake in a new holding firm grouping three services firms in a 14-day initial public offering starting on February 28.

QP, which will retain a 30% stake in Gulf International Services, will sell shares to Qatari nationals at 21 riyals ($5.77) each, plus a 0.6-riyal offering cost, QP said in a statement.

Another 4.2% stake will be reserved for "selected institutions," QP added.

An official at QP, who declined to be identified, said the company would sell 86 million shares in Gulf International, which includes Gulf Helicopter, Gulf Drilling and Al-Koot Insurance and Reinsurance.

The share sale, which closes on March 12, aims to raise 1.72 billion riyals, the official told Reuters, without elaborating.

The IPO would allow QP to raise funds "that will enable Qatar Petroleum to continue its work," Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said in the statement, without being more specific.

QP sold a 30% stake in Industries Qatar, the country's largest firm by market value, in 2003.

The Gulf Arab state is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas and home to the world's third-biggest natural gas reserves.

Qatar Oman Investment and Al-Khaliji Bank sold shares in Qatari IPOs last year, when investor appetite for Gulf Arab stocks picked up following a stock market crash in 2006 that saw the Doha Securities Market shed 35%.

HSBC Holdings is lead manager for the Gulf International IPO, in which individual investors must subscribe for at least 250 shares.

A Ministry of Economy official said in November QP had received a request to approve the IPO. (Reuters)

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