Asiacell IPO reveals Iraq Stock Exchange future

Author: Ashley Lee | Published: 21 Feb 2013

KEY TAKEAWAYS

o The Asiacell IPO was the first on the Iraq Stock Exchange and the first in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion, and at IQD 1.49 trillion ($1.3 billion) was the largest IPO in the Middle East since 2008;

o Asiacell is the first of three telecommunications companies that will list. They are required to list 25% of their shares under their operating licenses;

o Iraqi securities aren’t yet regulated by a comprehensive securities law, but existing regulations are straightforward and allow foreign investors the same rights as domestic investors;

o Political stability is an overarching issue. In other issues typical of frontier markets, market participants are concerned about liquidity, transparency and government bureaucracy.

The initial public offering (IPO) of Iraqi telecommunications company Asiacell on the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) was the first since 2003. Market participants agree that it may be a game...