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Sat 4 Dec 2010 07:42 PM

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Wataniya Palestine IPO oversubscribed 1.5 time - Firm

Received bids for 58.05m shares compared with 38.7m on offer

Wataniya Palestine IPO oversubscribed 1.5 time - Firm
Wataniya Palestine is 53% owned by Qatar Telecommunications and 47% by the Palestine Investment Fund (Photo credit should read SAIF DAHLAH/AFP/Getty Images)

Mobile telephone operator Wataniya Palestine's initial public offering (IPO) was oversubscribed 1.5 times, showing good demand from retail investors, head of the company's board said on Saturday.

The company, part owned by Qatar Telecommunications Co, received bids for 58.05 million shares compared with 38.7 million on offer, Mohammad Mustafa told Reuters.

The second mobile operator offered shares at $1.3 per share for Palestinian, Arab and foreign investors, equivalent to 15 percent of its shares.

Mustafa said: "We aimed to raise $50 million, but we got $75 million. This is very encouraging and it is a vote of confidence in the company."

Subscription closed on December 2.

Wataniya said in November that revenue rose to $11.3 million in the third quarter from $9.1 million in the second quarter and $4 million in the first quarter, when it began recording revenue.

The company began functioning as the second mobile operator in the Palestinian territories a year ago after entering the market as a competitor to Jawwal, owned by The Palestine Telecommunications Co (Paltel).

The 38.7 million shares will be traded on the Nablus based Palestine Exchange in January, Mustafa said.

Mustafa said: "We are the biggest company to be listed in terms of the paid up capital which is $258 million."

Wataniya will join 40 companies listed on the bourse, which have a combined market capitalisation of around $2.5 billion.

Another 15 percent tranche will be offered to the public within four years, sources familiar with the matter said previously.

Ahmad Aweidah, the bourse chief executive told Reuters: "Listing of Wataniya Palestine will raise the market capitalisation about 14 percent. This will have a very huge and positive impact."

Wataniya Palestine is 53 percent owned by Qatar Telecommunications and 47 percent by the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF), which is owned by the Palestinian Authority.

Those stakes are set to drop to 40 percent and 30 percent respectively after 30 percent of the company is sold to the public.

HSBC Middle East Ltd is the global coordinator and bookrunner for the IPO, while the Arab Bank Group is the regional coordinator and underwriter.(Reuters)

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