Banglalink plots IPO: report

Nicole McCormick
01 Jun 2010

Bangladeshi cellco Banglalink is mulling a floatation on the local bourse - but only if the government eases its notorious SIM card tax.

Shakil Rizvi, president of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, told the Financial Express that he discussed the IPO proposal recently with Banglalink's chief executive officer Ahmed Abou Doma.

“The CEO said his company may go public if the government lessens the SIMs-tax and the corporate tax of the telecom companies in the upcoming budget,” Rizvi said.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Secretary Sunil Kanti Bose hinted last month that the upcoming budget – due to presented to parliament later this month - will likely include some tax relief for mobile operators, said the Daily Star.

The report said a parliamentary body has recommended the BDT800 ($11.57) SIM card tax be abolished.

An IPO for Banglalink could raise funds for 3G licensing and network rollout as the government is angling to issue at least four 3G licenses by July or August, possibly via auction.

The second-ranked operator successfully raised $102 million in the country’s largest corporate bond offering, conducted in March.

Other operators are also hoping to cash in on Bangladesh’s limited telco liquidity since only one - Telenor-backed GrameenPhone – out of the country’s six operators is listed.

Axiata Bangladesh, which owns the third largest operator Robi (formerly Aktel), and government-owned cellco Teletalk, are also plotting local stock market listings.

SingTel-backed PBTL and Warid Telecom are discussing tower and site sharing opportunities given Warid Telecom is now 70% owned by SingTel-invested Bharti Airtel.

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