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Lebanon to delay IPO of Middle East Airlines

8-Sep-2010 10:06 AM

Lebanon's Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh, stated Lebanon would delay an IPO of shares in Middle East Airlines (owned by the Central Bank) that was scheduled for 2010, due to unfavourable market conditions (Bloomberg, 07-Sep-2010). Mr Salameh commented: “We need to have the proper market momentum. There is no appetite, we have to be patient. We want to really take advantage of the right moment to do it.” Mr Salameh cited the Greek debt crisis and its impact on European economies, a decline in oil prices and the weak performance of Arab stock exchanges as reasons for the delay. An announcement on who would manage the 25% stake sale had been due by the end of Jun-2010, once banks had completed due diligence, although talks are still ongoing with six unnamed banks. The carrier is valued at approximately USD1 billion and under the IPO plan, no investor would be permitted to own more than 1%, in order to guarantee broad ownership of the shares, which will be listed on Lebanon’s Stock Exchange.