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Kuwait's KIPCO to start IPO process for pay-TV unit OSN - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Al Aan television news anchor Hassinah Ochan is seen on a screen as she presents the morning news at the new Arab television channel in its Dubai studio June 12, 2007. (Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah)

Al Aan television news anchor Hassinah Ochan is seen on a screen as she presents the morning news at the new Arab television channel in its Dubai studio on June 12, 2007. (Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah)

Kuwait, Reuters—Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO), the Gulf state’s largest listed investment company, plans to start the process for an initial public offering (IPO) of shares for its pay-television unit, Orbit Showtime Network (OSN), within weeks, it said on Monday

Deputy Chairman Faisal Al-Ayyar said he hoped the bourse listing would be completed by the end of this year, and that he was looking at a primary listing in London.

“We start the process within a few weeks,” Ayyar told reporters on the sidelines of KIPCO’s annual general meeting.

Asked where OSN would list, he said: “It depends on how much corporate governance is needed, and how much is needed as a stake to be sold . . . all things are tilted towards London, but not as GDR [global depositary receipts], as a primary listing.”

He did not say which banks were involved in the process.

The OSN network operates in the Middle East and North Africa. Ayyar said it currently had around 700 million US dollars in annual revenues which he expects to double over the next three years.

KIPCO said in February the network had nearly a million subscribers.

KIPCO, an investment house with stakes in media, industrial, financial and real estate companies, said in June it was planning to list OSN. It currently has a 60.5 percent stake.

KIPCO hired financial group Rothschild to advise on the IPO.

Last year brokerage Arqaam Capital said it had raised its valuation of OSN to 4.3 billion dollars from the previous estimate of 2.5 billion dollars, an increase of 72 percent.

Ayyar said KIPCO expected group revenues and profit to grow by a double digit percentage each year over the next three years.

KIPCO reported a 75 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit in February, saying OSN had performed strongly.

Net profit in the three months to the end of December was 14 million Kuwaiti dinars (49.7 million dollars), compared with 8 million dinars (28 million dollars) in the same period the year before.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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