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Zain Again Delays Iraq Stock Market Listing

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Kuwait based Zain has again delayed the long planned stock market floatation of its Iraqi subsidiary to later this year.

A requirement of its mobile operator license, the company has been repeatedly delaying the IPO long past the deadline set by the telecoms regulator. Recently expected to take place in the first half of this year, the company appears to have pushed it back to the second half of the year.

Zain has previously said that the delayed stock market listing for its Iraqi subsidiary should take place by this month, subject to regulatory approval.

"We are now taking the legal procedures and we think by the end of the year we will finish the public offering," the Reuters news agency cited Asaad Ahmed al-Banwan as saying at the company's annual shareholders meeting.

Zain owns 76% of the Iraqi network and is expected to be the sole shareholder selling shares. As the operator license requires at least 25% of the shares to be listed, the company is likely to see its stake reduced to 51 percent.

As with the other mobile networks in the country, it missed the August 2011 deadline, although they cited issues with the stock exchange for the delays.

However, the regulator has decided to impose the fine, equivalent to US$12,864 per day on the Zain at a higher rate than its rivals due to its larger customer base. The fine is being backdated to September 2011.

Rival network, Asiacell is the only one of the three networks to have listed its shares, and its shares now comprise around half the local stock exchange capitalisation. There have been concerns that the telecoms networks would dominate the stock exchange when all three are listed as they could collectively represent about three-quarters of the total market value.

On the web: Reuters

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Tags: zain  Iraq