Kuwait’s KIPCO to start IPO process for pay-TV unit in weeks-Reuters

(Reuters) – Kuwait Projects Co, the Gulf state’s largest listed investment company, plans to start the process for an initial public offering of shares by its pay-television unit OSN within weeks, it said on Monday.

Deputy chairman Faisal al-Ayyar said he hoped the bourse listing would be completed by the end of this year, and that he was looking at a primary listing in London.

“We start the process within a few weeks,” Ayyar told reporters on the sidelines of KIPCO’s annual general meeting.

Asked where OSN would list, he said: “It depends on how much corporate governance is needed, and how much is needed as a stake to be sold … all things are tilted towards London, but not as GDR (global depositary receipts), as a primary listing.”

He did not say which banks were involved in the process.

The OSN network operates in the Middle East and North Africa. Ayyar said it currently had around $700 million in annual revenues which he expects to double over the next three years.

KIPCO said in February the network had nearly a million subscribers.

KIPCO, an investment house with stakes in media, industrial, financial and real estate companies, said in June it was planning to list OSN. It currently has a 60.5 percent stake.

KIPCO hired financial group Rothschild to advise on the IPO.

Last year brokerage Arqaam Capital said it had raised its valuation of OSN to $4.3 billion from the previous estimate of $2.5 billion, an increase of 72 percent.

Ayyar said KIPCO expected group revenues and profit to grow by a double digit percentage each year over the next three years.

KIPCO reported a 75 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit in February, saying OSN had performed strongly.

Net profit in the three months to the end of December was 14 million dinars ($49.7 million), compared with 8 million dinars in the same period the year before.