x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Roadshow planned for Wateen Telecom

The Pakistani wireless broadband company will embark on an international roadshow to raise 1.5 billion Pakistani rupees (Dh65.3 million) for future growth.

Wateen Telecom, a Pakistani wireless broadband company controlled by the Abu Dhabi Group, will embark on an international roadshow within the next three months to raise 1.5 billion Pakistani rupees (Dh65.3 million) for future growth. Tariq Malik, the chief executive of Wateen Telecom, said the company was looking to expand its operations in Afghanistan and was contemplating a dual listing of its shares on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

"We are doing a roadshow in the Middle East and the US within the next month because we want to diversify our investor base," Mr Malik said. Wateen launched an initial public offering (IPO) on Pakistan's Karachi Stock Exchange last month, which raised 2bn rupees. The IPO floated about 26 per cent of the company for 10 rupees a share and was oversubscribed by 1.1bn rupees. The funds will go towards paying down the company's debt and buying out a minority stake of a subsidiary that deals with telecommunications hardware.

The Abu Dhabi Group, an investment company owned by members of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family, owns the other 76 per cent of Wateen through its investments in Warid Telecom, an operator based in Pakistan, and its Bank Alfalah business. "Now that we have a listing and we have an open market price, the next phase is to find a kind of a long-term strategic investor in the business," Mr Malik said. In its prospectus, Wateen Telecom reported it had revenues of 16.1bn rupees and an operating profit of 3.01bn rupees. It is one of the country's largest wireless providers but focuses on wholesale internet access for businesses and other operators.

The company has started selling satellite services to mobile operators in Afghanistan's rural areas, generating about US$25m (Dh91.8m) in sales, and was looking to provide more wireless broadband packages in the country, Mr Malik said. "We haven't given any dividends this year and 100 per cent of our profit is reinvested, primarily in [Pakistan]," he said. skhan@thenational.ae dgeorgecosh@thenational.ae