The listing of one of Iraq’s biggest
mobile providers has revealed the arduous process of going
public in the country.
Zain Iraq listed on the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX)
on June 23. At the end of its first day of trading, its market
capitalisation was $9.4 billion, which added almost 50% to the
exchange’s total value.
Lawyers have said that laws are outdated,
regulatory oversight is weak and, like any frontier market,
transparency is a major concern for investors. The drop in oil
price has dealt a further blow to the economy, halving its
primary source of revenue in under a year.
Liquidity is also a problem. Zaab Sethna, partner
at Northern Gulf Partners, noted that there is no asset
management industry in Iraq; most traders are small local
"Foreign investors make up such a small proportion of
exchange participants, and in...