Zain Iraq, the local unit of Kuwaiti telecoms firm Zain Group, has said it has started the process to offer its shares on the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX), after failing to meet a condition of its operating licence to list on the bourse by 31 August 2011. According to Reuters, which cites a company announcement in several local newspapers, Zain Iraq will soon list 25% of its shares on the ISX. ‘The company would like to mention that it has finished a lap in the process of changing into a shareholder company,’ Zain’s announcement said, adding: ‘It will inform the citizens through the available media means on the dates of the public offering and its conditions.’ A number of international banks, including America’s Citibank and France’s BNP Paribas, are involved in the assessment of Zain ahead of its listing.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Zain Group was awarded one of three new 15-year national mobile concessions for USD1.25 billion in August 2007. The licence carries an obligation for the holder to list around 25% of its shares on the local stock exchange within four years. The other licence recipients, Asiacell, which is part-owned by Qatar Telecom (Qtel), and Korek, part-owned by France Telecom, also failed to meet the deadline to list on the ISX by the end of August. All three companies have yet to change from limited to shareholding companies, the first main step towards going public on the local bourse.