Tunisie Telecom (www.tunisietelecom.tn) has announced the first stage of registration with the aim of listing on the Tunisian stock exchange Bourse de Tunis (www.bvmt.com.tn) and NYSE Euronext Paris (www.euronext.com). It filed a 555-page reference document filed with regulators Conseil du Marché Financier in Tunis (www.cmf.org.tn), and also with French financial markets regulator Autorité des Marches Financiers (www.amf-france.org) on 17 December.
The filings are the first steps towards an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of shares on the Tunis and Paris stock exchanges, subject to market conditions and approval of the IPO prospectuses by the two regulators.
Tunisie Telecom is the incumbent telecommunication network and service provider and offers fixed, mobile and satellite telephony services and ADSL services to residential and business subscribers through five Internet Service Providers. It is 65% owned by the Government, but in May 2006 a consortium of Dubai’s TECOM investments and Dubai Investment Group acquired a 35% shareholding.
On offer will be a reported 20% of the shares, half each from the Government and from TECOM-Dubai, according to a useful story by Reuters newsagency, citing Tunis bourse Chief Executive Mohamed Bichiou. The listing could be planned for the first quarter of 2011.
Tunisia’s population is about 10 million and it has an open business climate and moved fast to adopt third generation 3G mobile technology. The telecoms market has expanded this year, after France Telecom started fixed and mobile operations. In September 2010, Tunisie Telecom was awarded the second 3G licence reportedly after paying about $80 million. It joins France Telecom’s local unit Orange Tunisie which had the first 3G licence.
Reuters reports that in November, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom sold its 50% stake in another Tunisian mobile operator Tunisiana for $1.2 billion. The buyer was a consortium that included Qatar Telecom’s Kuwaiti unit Wataniya and which already owned 50% of Tunisiana.
The IPO will be the biggest on the Tunis exchange in recent years. Tunisia’s emerging equities market has been increasing its profile this year, and this will be enhanced by the Paris dual-listing, Reuters reports that the previous foreign listing by a Tunisian firm was on Morocco’s stock exchange.
The reference document includes IFRS accounts for the years to December 2007-2009 and provisionals to September 2010.