Iraq's Asiacell aims to raise $1.3bn from IPO

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The mobile operator which has 9.9m subscribers said its IPO will

The mobile operator which has 9.9m subscribers said its IPO will "be the first of its kind in Iraq and one of the biggest share offers in the Middle East region in the past year''

Asiacell Communications PJSC, Iraq's second largest mobile operator aims to raise about $1.3bn from an initial public offering, next month when it lists on the Iraq Stock Exchange, the company said.

The mobile operator which has 9.9m subscribers said its IPO will "be the first of its kind in Iraq and one of the biggest share offers in the Middle East region in the past year,'' and consist of 67.503 billion shares, representing 25 percent of the company’s share capital.

The shares will be offered at a price of a least IQD 22 per share at the start of the subscription which will take place from January 3 to February 2, Asiacell said in a statement on its website. The share listing will be the country's first major listing since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003 after the US led invasion of the country and the region's largest since 2008. The shares will start trading on February 3 the company said.

"This is another step closer to our share offer which is a significant development for us as a company,'' Faruk M. Rasool, Managing Director of Asiacell said.

"We’ve built a stable and growing business across Iraq and we’re delighted to be able to provide the chance for all Iraqis to participate in our future by taking a stake in Asiacell," Rasool added. "We’re confident in our future as Iraq’s mobile industry continues to grow and we look forward to welcoming a new set of investors in 2013."

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) owns 54 percent of the Iraqi operator, which competes with Zain Iraq and Korek.

Asiacell holds a 15-year operating license issued by the Communications and Media Commission of Iraq in 2007. In 2009, Asiacell became the first mobile provider in Iraq to achieve nationwide coverage, serving all 18 of Iraq’s governorates. Asiacell serves Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, and all other major Iraqi cities, with a network that covers 97% of the Iraqi population.

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