In November 2007, the HCP and the TRA, launched a tender process for the acquisition of the related assets, liabilities and contracts of each of the two existing state-owned mobile telecommunications operators, together, in each case, with the award of a 20-year license to build, own and operate a mobile telecommunications network and provide mobile telecommunications services in Lebanon.
Winning bidders were required to incorporate the proposed licensee entities in the form of Lebanese joint stock companies (S.A.L.). The ROL was to hold one third of the issued share capital in each of such joint stock companies and to undertake to sell these shares via an IPO within 12 months of the incorporation of the relevant licensee (if market and other conditions permit). The HCP was to offer the ROL’s shares on the Beirut Stock Exchange with the initial placement and the continued ownership of these shares to be restricted to Lebanese nationals.
9 regional and international companies expressed interest, accessed the virtual data room, participated in the Q&A process and undertook site visits. However, the tender process was suspended in February 2008 due to political stalemate and subsequent events. Discussions of resuming the process were undertaken in July 2008 but were later abandoned in light of the global financial crisis.