Wateen Eyeing Agriculture, Energy Sectors

Abu Dhabi Group is considering some options in agriculture and power sector while on the hospitality front things have slowed down following the negative image developed by suicide bombing in the recent past. This was stated by Wateen Telecom (WTL) Director Pervez A Shahid while talking to newsmen. WTL Chief Executive Officer Tariq Malik and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.

Shahid said that the Group could have set up its own satellite if circumstances had allowed. The foreign investment in the country has landed in only specific sectors while major areas are still unattended. As a result, Pakistan is left behind in value-addition as compared to the rest of the region, he added.

Wateen CEO Tariq said that the Rs 52 as value of Wateen’s share has been calculated as replacement cost of the company, while almost all brokerage houses have their different valuations about the price of the share, ranging from Rs 15 to Rs 24.60.

About future earning prospects of Wateen, he said that Wateen has sold out only three pairs out of 24 of its 10,000 km long fibre optic, and its total capacity is heavily utilized. Wateen is in negotiations with different companies for selling its rest of the capacity and one can imagine if even some part of the rest of the capacity would be sold out, he added. Moreover, it has outclassed the rest of competitors by winning majority projects offered by the government of Pakistan under Universal Access program in low developed areas. More interestingly, Wateen is conducting a business which no other company is doing in the rest of the country, he added.

It is highly likely that the company’s forthcoming IPO would be over-subscribed following its promising future earning prospects. Expressions of interest by the financial institutions for underwriting its scrip as well as deal of extending credits both speaks volumes about what the financial sector of this country thinks about the Wateen, he added. Wateen would be launching a new software very soon which would double the speed of data transfer on the existing network as compared to current one, Tariq said, adding that majority of data and voice traffic of Afghanistan is also being booked by Wateen over here.

Talking about dismal performance of ‘telecom sector’ on stock markets of the country, he said it was no denying the fact that telecom sector is not being very well represented at the domestic bourses. Only three out of total 26 companies have so far been listed on the domestic stock markets, which was reason that Wateen was warmly welcomed by both brokers and small investors. Therefore, inference should not be drawn from overall telecom sector to the Wateen’s future prospects, he added.

He said that Wateen has decided to raise further equity to the tune of Rs 1,100 million by offering additional 110 million shares with a ‘green-shoe’ option of further Rs 900 million by offering additional 90 million shares both at a price of Rs 10 per share through initial public offer (IPO) to the general public and institutional investors. It is worth mentioning that more than 14 financial institutions, leading banks and strategic investors have already ‘underwritten’ the full issue of 110 million shares. Therefore, there would be no question of ‘under-subscription’ of this issue, he added.

He said that JS Research in its report had shown that currently Wateen has 418 million shares in issue, with Warid Telecom International 79.8 percent and Bank Alfalah 20 percent being the two key shareholders. This IPO is expected to dilute their stakes by 29-32 percent, he added.

Via Business Recorder