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Tue 11 Dec 2007 11:20 AM

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Royal Jordanian IPO raises $232mn

Shares in national carrier are expected to begin trading on Amman Stock Exchange next week.

Jordan's government has successfully completed the initial public offering (IPO) of airline Royal Jordanian (RJ), raising 164.5 million Jordanian dinars ($232 million).

The government floated 59,905,079 shares, representing 71% of RJ's total issued share capital, at 3.08 dinars per share.

Jordanian retail and institutional investors received 37% of the offered shares, including a placement of 6.493,506 shares with RJ's employee fund and 8,437,335 shares with Jordan's Social Security Corporation.

"We have been very pleased with the volume of interest we have received from both the general public and also local, regional and international institutional investors, in particular the very positive response from retail investors in Jordan," Nasser Lozi, RJ chairman, said in a statement.

Shares in RJ are expected to begin trading on the Amman Stock Exchange on December 17.

Citigroup Global Markets is sole global coordinator and bookrunner of the offering, with Arab Jordan Investment Bank acting as Jordanian lead manager and SHUAA Capital as selling agent.

The government initially sought a mainly private placement of a majority stake in the national airline with 49% open for foreign investors.

But the option for a private placement was abandoned in favour of an IPO that would offer its shares to both Jordanian nationals and foreign institutional investors.

Foreign investors can buy up to 49% of the airline with the rest kept in private Jordanian hands to ensure the carrier maintains its right to fly under bilateral accords.

RJ forecast transporting a total of 2.3 million passengers in 2007 against two million in 2006.

The airline's strategy was to create Amman as a regional hub for the Levant region by expanding its regional network and tap booming air passenger demand in the Middle East.