Monday, August 17, 2009

Zain Plans to Review Shareholder Restrictions Rules

­Speculation about the future of Kuwait based mobile operator, Zain was heightened when the company posted notices seeking changes to shareholder restrictions. Shareholders will be asked to vote on the amendment to lift a ban on any single shareholder owning more than two percent of the listed shares in the company.
Zain's shares surged on the Kuwaiti stock exchange as speculation rose that the move could allow an outside investor to take a large stake in the company.
Zain's largest single shareholder, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) recently said that it would consider selling its stake in the company if the right offer came along. Zain is itself trying to sell its African assets, and although later denied, it was rumoured that UAE based Etisalat was interested in buying the whole company.
Zain's chairman, Saad al-Barrak has said that he wants to see the KIA sell its stake in Zain as soon as possible. "I wish they would leave tomorrow, and I am working on this," he said. He added that the motivation was to ensure the company could operate without political interference.
Zain has recruited Swiss bank UBS to carry out a "strategic review" that could lead to a sale of its former Celtel division - which includes most of its African assets.

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