UK set for pounds 700m Telekom bonanza

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The Independent Online
British investors could be allocated more than pounds 700m worth of shares in Europe's largest privatisation, the sell-off of Germany's state telephone company, Deutsche Telekom.

Details of the offer, disclosed yesterday, show UK investors will be awarded 8-12 per cent of the 500 million shares available. The British allocation is likely to be second only in scale to that of the USA and Canada combined.

The vast majority of the shares destined for UK investors will go to institutions. Sources suggested the interest by retail investors in Britain, or "Sids", would probably be limited. The final allocation depends on the size of bids received during the institutional bookbuilding process which begins today.

However, in Germany the privatisation has attracted huge interest of the kind seen during the first British privatisations in the mid-Eighties and looks set to be heavily oversubscribed. When the deadline for applications from private investors expired on 11 October, 3 million individuals had registered. Half the small investors applying had not held shares before.

Organisers also revealed that after vetting 3.5 million applications received they discovered that 500,000 had been made twice. UK accountants Price Waterhouse have been engaged to check that no small investors have profited more than once. Individuals in Germany will get a small discount of DM0.5 (20p) a share up to a maximum of 300 shares.

Deutsche said the indicative price range for the shares was DM25-DM 30 a share, valuing the 20 per cent of the company being sold in the first phase at more than DM12.5bn.