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Operators likely to miss IPO deadline, face penalties

17 Aug 2011

Iraq’s three largest mobile operators by subscribers – Zain Iraq, Asiacell and Korek Telecom – are unlikely to meet the end-August deadline to list on the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX), as required under the terms of their operating licences. According to a report by Reuters, which cites ISX chief executive Taha Abdulsalam, none of the three limited companies has yet become a shareholding firm, a key requirement and the first main step towards going public on the local bourse. Abdulsalam said that after becoming shareholding companies, the three operators would need approval from the ISX board and Iraq’s securities commission in order to be listed. He added that the ISX board decision could take 24 hours, while the securities commission may take up to a week to give its consent. It would then take between two and three weeks before the companies would be ready to trade. Meanwhile, the Communications and Media Commission (CMC) said the contracts with the phone companies signed in 2007 still stood, and that failure to list on the ISX would result in the firms being penalised.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that Zain Iraq, a subsidiary of Kuwait-based Zain Group, Korek Telecom and Asiacell (part-owned by Qatar Telecom) were each awarded one of three new 15-year national mobile concessions in August 2007 for USD1.25 billion. The licences also carry an obligation for the holders to sell 25% of their shares and list on the Iraqi bourse by the end of this month.

Iraq, Asiacell, Korek Telecom, Zain Iraq

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