Iraq mobile firm aims to raise 123 bn in IPO

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Iraq’s second-biggest mobile operator Asiacell aims to raise $1.23 billion in an initial public offering next month, it said, after pressure from Baghdad’s media regulator to be listed on the bourse.



The firm, in which Qatar Telecom holds a majority stake, and Iraq’s two other mobile phone companies – Kuwait’s Zain and Korek, in which France Telecom and Kuwait’s Agility Logistics have stakes -- were fined for failing to issue IPOs on the Iraq Stock Exchange, Zain said in July.



The company said in a statement on its website on Tuesday that the share offer is expected to be among “the biggest ... in the Middle East region in the past year.”



Asiacell will offer 67.503 billion shares, representing 25 percent of the total share capital, at a price of at least 22 Iraqi dinars (1.8 U.S. cents) per share when the offer opens on January 3.



“This is another step closer to our share offer which is a significant development for us as a company,” said Asiacell managing director Faruk Rasool.



Asiacell is the second-biggest mobile phone company in Iraq by subscribers, with 9.9 million, after Zain, which says it has more than 12 million customers.
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