Asiacell plans IPO next year
Iraqi operator Asiacell is to list 25% of its share in an IPO, valuing the company at between $4.9 and $5.5 billion.
The IPO is to be the first of three mandatory listings by telcos on Baghdad’s stock market, with market leader Zain Iraq and Korek Telecom also set to follow suit.
Asiacell, which is Iraq’s second largest mobile operator, will announce its listing price on December 25 and begin to offer shares to the public on January 1 2013, before listing on the Iraq Stock Exchange on February 3.
The move is part of a campaign to introduce Iraqis to the retail equities culture prevalent in other Gulf states, where individual investors dominate domestic stock markets, according to the Financial Times.
Gulf investors are expected to lead demand for the listing, which is one of the most highly anticipated regional equity market offerings, Shwan Ibrahim Taha of Baghdad-based Rabee Securities, the distributor and selling agent told the FT.
This year Qatar Telecom reached an agreement to double its stake in Asiacell to 60% at a total cost of $1.47 billion. The company has initially increased its ownership to 53.9%, requiring regulatory approval to go any higher.
Iraq’s telecoms market is deemed to have significant growth potential with overall wireless penetration lagging behind the regional average.