x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Wataniya Telecom plans dual stock listing

Kuwait's Wataniya Telecom plans a dual listing in Qater before the year's end, says Scott Gegenheimer, its chief executive.

The Kuwaiti operator Wataniya Telecom plans a dual listing in Qatar by the end of the year, says its chief executive.

The company, which is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, said a plan to list in Doha had been delayed by regulatory issues between the two bourses.

"It should happen shortly - I would hope by the end of the year," said Scott Gegenheimer, the chief executive of Wataniya Telecom.

"It's not a new offering, it's the same shares just listed on the Doha exchange."

Wataniya was launched in 1999 and now has operations in Kuwait, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria and the Palestinian Territories.

In 2007, Qatar Telecom (Qtel) acquired a 51 per cent stake in the company.

Mr Gegenheimer said the impetus behind the dual listing in Doha was to allow Qataris easier access to trade the stock.

"It's the ability to give the Qataris access to our stock without going into the Kuwait market," he said. "We're trying to get it done as soon as possible. There has been some issues between the two regulators [of] the stock exchange."

Wataniya holds a 75 per cent stake in the Tunisian telecommunications operator Tunisiana. Mr Gegenheimer said an initial public offering (IPO) of Tunisiana, which was delayed because of the unrest in the North African country this year, was still on the table.

"It's possible ... We haven't set any specific dates on that yet," he said. "Right now, with the government not being there, we have to look at the market conditions."

An IPO of between 10 and 15 per cent in the Tunisian company would allow local investors to become stakeholders, he said. A dual listing of that stock in Tunis and another exchange was also a possibility.

"Generally, you would do it in Paris. But again, no decision has been made," said Mr Gegenheimer.

bflanagan@thenational.ae