Iraq, Home to the Largest IPO in the Middle East

Image via Reuters Pictures

On February 3rd, history was made in Iraq with the initial public offering for Asiacell Communications (ticker: TASC). By offering 67.503 billion shares at IQD 22 per share, the company managed to raise IQD 1.485 trillion (about $1.277 billion USD). It closed at IQD 23.47 today for a nice gain of 6.7% on the week. Here are some facts about this record breaking IPO:

  • Asiacell is the first telecom company to be listed on the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX), and the 84th company to be listed overall
  • Asiacell is majority owned by Qatar Telecom, and was offering 25% of its equity up for sale as per their Iraqi license agreements
  • The subscription was completely taken up, with 70% of the IPO bought by foreign investors
  • It is the largest IPO in the Middle East since 2008, taking the crown from Saudi Arabian Mining Co.
  • In 2013, it ranks as the second largest IPO in the world this year, just edged out by Zoetis which IPO’d days earlier on the NYSE
  • The ISX had a market cap of about $4.5 billion prior to this IPO, meaning Asiacell will make up almost a quarter of the ISX

Not too shabby for a company with 9.9 million subscribers (just under a third of the country), and you can see the official press release here. This is not over either; there are two other telecom companies, Korek Telecom and Zain Iraq, that will be also be offering shares and are expected to push the ISX’s market cap up to $8 billion.


  1. Actually there was a larger IPO than that that from Saudi Arabian Mining Co. in the Middle East since 2008. Saudi Arabia’s Al Inma Bank listed on the Tadawul index in June 2008 and raised more than $2.79 billion.

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