Virgin Mobile MEA in talks with banks over IPO

Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (VMMEA) is considering a possible initial public offering (IPO) to fund its expansion plans in the region.

The mobile virtual network operator's CEO and founder Mikkel Vinter told Arabian Business that the company is in talks with banks over a potential IPO on a regional stock exchange or even outside the region.

"We have not taken any final decisions on which exchange to choose, but there are a range of options, including Dubai Financial Market (DFM), Saudi Arabia's Takaful, Qatar Stock Exchange, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and of course the London Stock Exchange and others outside the region," Vinter said.

The company recently said it was targeting more than 10 million subscribers within five years after it reached 2.5 million users in the region.

As well as Saudi Arabia, the Dubai-based company operates MVNOs in South Africa, Oman, Jordan, and Malaysia, and is targeting 10 operations in total over the next five years. United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait have previously been cited as potential targets.

North Africa is also a target, and Vinter noted that the company is in the process of securing a licence in Tunisia that should be awarded by the second half of this year.

VMMEA is the holding company for Virgin Mobile's expansion into the Middle East and Africa regions. It was first established in 2006 and renamed in 2012 when Virgin Group and FRiENDi Group combined their shareholdings in Virgin Mobile South Africa and FRiENDi Mobile businesses.

Both Virgin and FRiENDi have been retained as consumer-facing brands. For example, FRiENDi is used in Oman, Jordan and Malaysia while Virgin Mobile is used in the other markets.

VMMEA also operates Eris Telecom, which provides international wholesale carrier services among other offerings.

For more:
- see this Arabian Business article

Related articles:
Virgin Mobile MEA targets 10M subscribers in 5 years
Virgin Mobile South Africa unveils strategy to reach 1M users in three years
Virgin Mobile plans to launch Saudi MVNO by June
Branson targets Gulf markets with Virgin Mobile brand
Report: Virgin Mobile to make sharp exit from India

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