October 25, 2010 / 10:45 AM / 9 years ago

Libya mobile IPOs to be early 2011-bourse

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Libyan mobile telephone operators al Madar and Libyana will each list 30 percent stakes on the local stock exchange early next year, the chairman of the bourse told Reuters on Monday.

Suleiman Shehoumi said they would be among 20 firms expected to list in 2011 on the exchange, which has become a symbol of the gradual opening up of Libya’s economy since international sanctions were lifted six years ago.

Asked about a timetable for the long-anticipated listings of the two state-controlled mobile operators, he said: “We expect it will be at the beginning of next year.”

“I expect there will be 20 new companies prepared to be on the exchange in 2011,” he said in Beirut, Lebanon, where he is attending a conference.

He also said the planned listing of a 10 percent stake in the state-owned Libyan Iron and Steel Company would take place “very soon.” There was a possibility that the firm would offer additional shares on the bourse later, he said.

The stock exchange was looking at attracting more initial public offerings by offering companies the option of dual listings with stock exchanges in neighbouring countries.

“Yes, it’s interesting, we’re thinking about it. We’ve already talked with Egypt and Tunisia about it and we’re thinking seriously,” Shehoumi said.

Libya, home to Africa’s biggest proven oil reserves, has attracted a wave of investment since its leader Muammar Gaddafi renounced illegal weapons programmes and brought the country out of decades of international isolation.

Some foreign investment analysts say Libya has the potential to become a regional financial hub, but that more reforms, as well as a more predictable regulatory environment, are needed before that can happen.

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