According to Reuters, mobile operator Zain Iraq plans to go ahead with its long-delayed bourse listing in Baghdad by early 2013 at the latest. The date was revealed by Hisham Akbar, Zain’s deputy chief executive and chief operating officer, on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai. When questioned as to whether Zain Iraq would opt for a single listing on the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) bourse, he said ‘most probably yes’, noting that Zain has also considered listings in Jordan and London. ‘The chances were stronger [of a secondary listing] nine months ago’. If the initial public offering (IPO) is fully subscribed, Zain’s shareholding in Zain Iraq would fall from 76% to 51%.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Zain, Asiacell and Korek were all required to list 25% of their shares on the ISX by 31 August 2011, under the terms of their 15-year national mobile concessions, which were awarded in August 2007 for USD1.25 billion apiece. In June this year Zain stated that it had invested around USD20 million in its proposed IPO, appointing BNP Paribas, Citigroup and the National Bank of Kuwait to handle the offering. However, less than a week later the Communications and Media Commission (CMC) fined Zain USD12,864 per day since 1 September 2011 for missing the initial deadline. On this subject, Akbar said that he expects an appeal against this penalty to be heard by year-end, adding: ‘The total [fine] we envisioned as a worst case scenario if we list [in 1Q13] is around USD4 million’.