x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Asiacell off to a flying start on Iraq Stock Exchange

The market capitalisation of the Iraq Stock Exchange leapt to $9.65bn from $4.7bn after shares in Asiacell made their trading debut.

Between the close on Thursday and the end of the session yesterday the market capitalisation of the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) leapt to US$9.65 billion (Dh35.44bn) from $4.7bn after shares in Asiacell made their trading debut.

The mobile operator closed its share offering on Saturday, raising $1.24bn after floating 25 per cent of its capital, about 67.5 billion shares at 22 Iraqi dinars each. The offering was the largest in the Middle East since Saudi Ma'aden's IPO in 2008.

"The trading and listing of new companies on the stock exchange means new operations and opportunities for investors, both Iraqi and non-Iraqi," said Taha Abdulsalam, the chief executive of the ISX. "When you're talking about 1.3 per cent of the gross domestic product of the Iraqi economy happening in one session, this is the power of the liquidity and the trust and confidence in the ISX."

According to Mr Abdulsalam, almost 3,000 Asiacell tickets were executed on the ISX yesterday. The operator expects to be fully listed today, missing its initial deadline by a day. Mr Abdulsalam said this is a "new beginning" for the ISX with greater power to help develop the economy.

"This was a big success and a big event for Iraq," said Anastasios Dalgiannakis, the institutional trading manager at Mubasher.

thamid@thenational.ae