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M1 Bucks IPO Trend

You won't have read about one of these for a while... Singapore wireless operator MobileOne (Asia) Pte Ltd. has begun its initial public offering (IPO) of 600.5 million shares, about 57 percent of the company, which will raise about $448 million. The IPO process, which ends on December 4, will result in the company being listed on the Main Board of the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited. M1 CEO Neil Montefiore says the listing will strengthen the brand and raise the operator's profile internationally, "giving us the impetus to develop our business further." The operator has just more than 1 million subscribers, or about 33 percent of the market. Market leader SingTel has 49 percent, and StarHub has 18 percent. The three companies have just signed an interoperability agreement to kickstart the market for picture messaging (see Singapore Agrees on MMS). According to company statements, the operator recorded an unaudited net profit of S$80.6 million (US$45.8 million) for the first eight months of 2002, and unaudited EBITDA of S$175.0 million (US$99.3 million). Speculation had mounted prior to the IPO as to whether M1 might be the target of an aggressive acquisition, but a bid did not materialize. — Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung
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