Belgacom announces share offer
3 March 2004, BRUSSELS – Belgium's state-backed telephone company Belgacom on Wednesday announced that it will put just under half of its shares up for sale on the stock market before the end of this month.
3 March 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgium's state-backed telephone company Belgacom on Wednesday announced that it will put just under half of its shares up for sale on the stock market before the end of this month.
In a widely-anticipated move, Belgacom said it would put 46.9 percent of its shares up for sale in an 'Initial Public Offering' (IPO) that it hopes will raise over EUR 4 billion.
The IPO is the biggest in Europe since 2001, when France Telecom sold a EUR 6.3 billion-share in mobile phone operator Orange.
The shares being put up for sale belong to ADSB, a consortium made up of US operator SBC, Singapore's SingTel and TDC from Denmark.
The Belgian state will retain its controlling stake in the company of 50 percent plus one share.
Belgacom itself, which holds the remaining 3.1 percent of stock, will buy back EUR 1 million of shares at the issuing price just before the IPO.
Didier Bellens, Belgacom President and CEO, on Wednesday said the forthcoming IPO was good news for his company.
"The flotation of Belgacom is an important milestone for the company, its staff and shareholders, and for Belgium," he said.
"We are all excited by the prospect of being a publicly-listed company and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff and stakeholders who have worked hard to get the company to this point," he added.
Belgacom has not always had a good reputation. For many years investors saw it as a sluggish, state-owned behemoth with little market dynamism.
But perceptions have changed recently, thanks essentially to its strong balance sheet.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news