Iraq's $1.4bn Asiacell share offer sold out - exchange

Share sale in mobile phone firm, first IPO since US-led invasion, said to be fully subscribed
Iraq's $1.4bn Asiacell share offer sold out - exchange
By Reuters
Sun 03 Feb 2013 03:57 PM

A US$1.35bn sale of shares in Iraqi mobile telephone firm Asiacell, the country's first major public offer of equity since the US-led invasion in 2003, was fully subscribed, the stock exchange said on Sunday.

Taha Abdulsalam, CEO of the Iraq Stock Exchange, told Reuters that orders had been received for all 67.5bn shares on offer, comprising 25 percent of the company's share capital.

The offer was one of the Middle East's biggest share offers in the last few years, and it was seen as a test of investor confidence in Iraq's economy as it recovers from years of war, political instability and financial sanctions.

Some major local shareholders in Asiacell are reducing their holdings through the offer.

By contrast, Qatar Telecom, which owns 53.9 percent, was expected to use the offer to increase its stake, Layth Sulaiman, head of the exchange's board of governors, said last week.

The shares were sold at IQD22 (US$0.02) each. Public trade in the shares had been expected to start on the exchange on Sunday, but it will begin on Monday, exchange officials said.

They said they could not immediately reveal details such as the total size of orders received for Asiacell shares, or how many of the shares had gone to foreign and local investors.

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