x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Invest AD puts its faith in land of opportunity

Invest AD has launched a fund to target opportunities for profit in Iraq as the oil-rich country rebuilds itself.

Nazem Fawwaz al Kudsi. Sammy Dallal / The National
Nazem Fawwaz al Kudsi. Sammy Dallal / The National

Invest AD, the investment company backed by the Abu Dhabi Government, has launched a fund to target opportunities for profit in Iraq as the oil-rich country rebuilds itself.

Open to banks and high-net worth individuals from this month, the fund will invest in stocks listed on the Iraq Stock Exchange, but also in unspecified "unlisted opportunities". The Iraqi bourse has a spartan offering of listed stocks, with its banks among the most liquid of those publicly traded.

"As Iraq stabilises, it should take its place as one of the major economies in this vibrant region," said Nazem Fawwaz al Kudsi, the chief executive of Invest AD.

"The country is overcoming difficult circumstances to make real progress towards an open economy and we see tremendous opportunities in the long term. By entering the market early, we hope to capitalise fully." An Invest AD spokesman declined to reveal how much the fund hoped to raise or how much seed capital it would receive.

The deal is the latest in a handful of investments by Abu Dhabi-backed companies in Iraq. Last month, National Holding and Bloom Properties signed a letter of intent to build 100 million houses in Iraq following seven years of conflict.

On Friday, the IMF announced that Iraq's economy was making "good progress in rebuilding key economic institutions and maintaining macroeconomic stability" as it disbursed $741 million of loans to aid the country's redevelopment.

"The Iraqi equity market is still quite small by regional standards, but from small beginnings come big opportunities. We expect our fund to grow in line with this," Mr al Kudsi said.

ghunter@thenational.ae