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Bangladesh: Telco surprises with country’s biggest-ever IPO

IPOs are scarce enough as it is in this gruesome global market. But the largest ever IPO from one of the world’s poorest countries, whose previous record deal was in 1994? That’s rarer still.

When Grameenphone lists in Bangladesh later this year, it will be a landmark. According to a statement released after its July 21 board meeting, the telco will raise $300 million, half of it in a pre-public offer private placement, and half in the flotation itself, on the Dhaka and Chittagong Stock Exchanges. Since Dealogic lists the previous record as a $28.9 million listing for Monno Fabrics in December 1994, that’s quite an increase.

Citigroup Global Markets Bangladesh is the global coordinator, issue manager and lead underwriter on the deal. Mamun Rashid, managing director and country officer for Bangladesh, reckons there’s real opportunity in the country’s markets. "Our capital market is coming up," he says. "In 2006 the market cap was $5 billion, in 2007 it was $10 billion, and as of June 30 it has become $13 billion." By that stage, it had come to represent 18.7% of GDP. So there’s appetite, but not a lot to buy. "There is tremendous demand for blue chip shares," he says.

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