Asiacell IPO expected to be fully subscribed

Asiacell IPO expected to be fully subscribed

Iraqi operator Asiacell’s $1.3 billion IPO is expected to be fully subscribed, bookrunner Rabee Securities told Reuters.

The listing will be Iraq’s first since the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003 and is deemed an important test for the country’s economy.

The Iraqi operator is looking to sell 67.5 billion shares for at least $0.02 per share.

Asiacell is Iraq’s number two wireless operator and is 53.9% owned by Qtel. The company is due to list on the Iraq Securities Exchange on February 3 2013, having begun book building at the beginning of this month.

"I knew there would be interest, I just didn't know how much - I can say that we will easily cover it," Shwan Ibrahim Taha, chairman of sole book runner Rabee Securities, told Reuters. "We will be fully subscribed."

Taha told the newswire that demand was coming from roughly half Iraqi and half international investors.

A number of sovereign backed funds have committed to the IPO, according to Bloomberg, as well as institutional investors from the Persian Gulf, Europe and the US.

Zain Iraq and France Telecom-backed Korek Telecom are also obliged to list a quarter of their shares as part of their licence agreements.

Some of Asiacell’s shareholders are offloading shares in the listing. Farouk Group Holding is believed to be the main seller and will receive the sale proceeds.

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