x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Kurdistan gets help to start Erbil Stock Exchange

The Kurdistan Regional Government hires Louis Berger Group to help start the first stock exchange in the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq.

The Kurdistan regional government hired Louis Berger Group, a New Jersey-based consulting company, to help start the first stock exchange in the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq.

An agreement was signed with KRG officials on March 5 to set up the Erbil Stock Exchange, or ESX, in the northern city of Erbil, Baljit Vohra, a vice president at the company, said. The exchange may begin trading next year, he said.

"The implementation plan has been put into effect and the market is expected to go live early in the new year," Mr Vohra said. "The ESX will begin with trading domestic securities and plans to expand its scope in the coming years."

The exchange would compete with the Iraq Stock Exchange in Baghdad, which got a boost in February when mobile operator Asiacell Communications listed. Asiacell's share sale was fully subscribed and doubled the market value of the Baghdad exchange from US$4.66 billion last year, Taha Ahmed Abdul Salam al Rubaye, the bourse chief executive officer, said at the time.

The ESX will operate in a rented building while "there are plans to build a modern financial center in the coming years," Mr Vohra said.

Kurdish provincial authorities in the north of the country have been at loggerheads with the central government in Baghdad over oil deals and revenue sharing. Iraqi Kurds are seeking to develop business ties with Turkey "because the Iraqi central government isn't being helpful" to them, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview on March 29.

 

* Reuters