The Iraqi division of Kuwaiti-based operator group Zain has started the process for its long-anticipated initial public offering (IPO).
Like Iraq’s other operators, Zain Iraq agreed to float a quarter of its stock and list on the Iraq Stock Exchange under the terms of its $1.25 billion licence, issued in 2007.
As required by law, Zain is creating an Iraqi-based joint stock company called Al-Khatem with which its Iraqi operations will be registered.
It is initially offering 55.9 million shares to the public at IQD1 each, with the offer period running for 30 days from yesterday (4 June).
According to Reuters, when Ooredoo’s Asiacell listed on the Iraq Stock Exchange in February it roughly doubled the size of the Iraq stock market. The $1.27 billion share sale was the first major share issue in the country since the 2003 US-led invasion of the country, and the largest ever.
Zain’s IPO could raise more money and there is some concern about the Iraq Stock Exchange’s ability to cope with additional volume of trades that will pass through its systems, the report said.
The public offering by Zain follows all three of Iraq’s operators missing an August 2011 deadline to complete IPOs, with investors put off by the unstable nature of the country.
According to Zain’s 2012 earnings statement, Zain Iraq had half of the mobile subscribers in the country, with Asiacell on 36 per cent and France Telecom-affiliated Korek on 14 per cent.