Sunday, October 4, 2009

Grameenphone launches Bangladesh's largest IPO

Bangladesh's telecom major Grameenphone Sunday launched the country's largest initial public offering (IPO), hoping to raise Taka 4.8 billion ($80 million approximately) from the domestic market.

The largest of its kind in Bangladesh's capital market history, it offers 69,439,400 ordinary shares of Tk 10 each, in addition to a Tk 60 premium per share, Star Online said.

Pioneered by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, Grameenphone is Bangladesh's largest mobile phone operator.

The subscription will close Thursday for resident Bangladeshis, but will remain open for non-resident Bangladeshis until Oct 18.

The company plans to use the issue proceeds for expanding its network, developing information technology and for other general corporate purposes.

Analysts expect the IPO to be oversubscribed several hundred times.

"It's the biggest IPO in the capital market since our independence in 1971," Dhaka Stock Exchange President Rakibur Rahman said.

"Almost everyone in the country, who has an account number, is vying for a slice of the pie," he added. "Many have already disposed of shares of other companies, while some have even sold gold jewellery to join the bonanza."

Officials said some 150,000 new share accounts - a tenth of the total number in the country - had been opened in the past three months as potential investors readied to qualify to take part in the IPO.

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Ziaul Haq Khandekar hailed the IPO as a "watershed event", saying it would bring "depth and maturity" to the country's share market.

"The IPO will bring qualitative change to the market. I think the move will instil confidence in other major companies to follow suit. It will make the stock market more stable and the centre of our economic activity," he said.
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