Bangladesh govt plans Teletalk IPO

Nicole McCormick
06 Apr 2010

The Bangladeshi government is planning a public float of 25% of the equity it owns in struggling cellco Teletalk.

The company – the smallest of Bangladesh’s six mobile firms, with 1 million customers – has finalized plans for a local listing later this year, telecommunications secretary Sunil Kanti Bose told the Financial Express.

The IPO could take place within three months, a Teletalk official told FE.

"We have made all necessary preparations and are waiting the government's final nod," he said.

IPO proceeds will be used to upgrade the network to 3G, said the official.

Teletalk is angling for 1.5 million 3G subscribers and 4 million 2.5G subscribers in two to three years.

"We need to invest at least $260 million to launch 3G telecom services in the country,” said the Teletalk source.

“We hope [a] direct listing of the company would raise a significant amount of that [funding]."

The remaining 3G funding could come from a loan from China’s Exim Bank, New Nation reported last month.

The IPO plans come on the heels of Orascom Telecom-controlled Banglalink successfully raising $102 million in the country’s largest corporate bond offering, conducted last month.

Axiata Bangladesh, which owns Bangladesh’s third largest operator Robi (formerly Aktel), is also gearing up for a local IPO

amid a pent-up demand for telecom stocks in Bangladesh.

The biggest operator, Telenor-backed GrameenPhone, was the first to jump on the IPO bandwagon, raising $140 million late last year.

Meanwhile, investor demand for telecoms stock appears to have spilled over to Pakistan, where Abu Dhabi Group-backed Wateen Telecom is preparing to list up to 200 million shares for $23.8 million, said Business Recorder.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has reportedly approved the IPO.

Wateen has more than 150,000 broadband users, mostly Wimax customers, as well as 12,000 fiber optic customers.

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