KIPCO Hosts International Bankers Pitching for Showtime IPO

Kuwait City, December 12, 2004 — Some of the world’s largest investment banks will descend on Kuwait City this week to present their proposals to manage an initial public offer (IPO) of shares in Showtime, the satellite television network and flagship media company of the Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) Group.

The IPO process began in early 2004 with several investment banking teams carrying out an initial review. After Showtime achieved key financial milestones meeting IPO requirements, the investment banking teams again visited for a further review during November.

This week, from Monday through Wednesday, KIPCO will host meetings with Citigroup, Bank of America, Credit Suisse First Boston, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), Morgan Stanley, Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) and The National Investor. The bankers will be asked to make recommendations about pricing Showtime shares, the choice of stock exchange, and the best way to structure the company’s capital in light of its business and financial objectives.

KIPCO managing director and CEO, Faisal Al Ayyar said “The strong interest from the world’s leading financial institutions to participate in the IPO selection process of Showtime shares reflects the high profile of this digital pay-TV service which offers 51 channels including CNN, Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Bloomberg Television.”

Al Ayyar said: “The decision to proceed with an IPO has been taken after a thorough review of plans for Showtime which offers its range of entertainment and news channels throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

“KIPCO is seeking advice from leading investment banks on how to structure a stock exchange listing of Showtime which is majority owned by KIPCO through United Broadcasting Company,” said Al Ayyar.

“Projections about the timing and the market value of Showtime will be critical to the success of the IPO and it is anticipated that the company will list on more than one stock exchange. Details about the IPO will be released in due course,” he said.

“The next steps are to appoint lead managers and to develop a timetable for the IPO, which is currently scheduled to take place in 2005,” said Al Ayyar.

The KIPCO Group adheres to a policy of transparency to get every Group company listed and rated. “For Showtime, advantages of stock exchange listing include access to additional capital to fund growth, and enhanced corporate image through daily quotations of the share price,” said Al Ayyar. After launching with six channels on PanAmSat in 1996, Showtime has expanded rapidly across the region and today offers the latest Hollywood movies, sitcoms, children’s programming, fashion shows and sports coverage.

“Led by president and CEO, Peter Einstein, Showtime has an experienced management team and is on track to achieve a Cumulative Average Growth Rate (CAGR) of 25.6 per cent from 2000 to 2004. Gross revenue in 2004 is the largest among all TV operators in the region, both pay and free-to-air,” Al Ayyar said. “While Showtime has one of the highest Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) in pay television, there is still tremendous growth potential given the low penetration rates in its core markets of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Egypt,” he said.

“There is also strong growth potential in the 18 emerging markets in the MENA region in which the Showtime television network can be accessed,” he said.

KIPCO is Kuwait’s largest private sector company with more than US$ 10 billion under management or control, and a portfolio of some 70 companies with major activities in financial services, media & telecommunications, real estate, industry, management advisory, medical services and aviation throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as substantial ownership interests in the U.S. and Europe. KIPCO employs more than 10,000 people internationally and its shares are the most actively traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.

KIPCO’s core operating companies are United Gulf Bank (UGB), its investment banking subsidiary; Gulf Insurance Company (GIC), a regional leader in commercial and personal insurance; Burgan Bank, Kuwait’s leading technology-driven commercial bank; Wataniya Telecom, the dynamic and fast-growing regional mobile telephone services provider; and Showtime.