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Zain Moves Closer to Iraq Stock Market Listing

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Zain's long delayed stock market listing for its Iraqi subsidiary has taken a step closer to being completed after the company formally made an application to the Baghdad stock exchange.

Zain Iraq has "filed its first set of application documents for its initial public offering to the Iraqi Securities Commission (ISC)," a Zain spokesman confirmed to the Reuters news agency.

Iraq's three mobile networks were required to list at least a quarter of their shares on the local stock exchange by 2011, as a condition of their 2007 mobile operator licenses.

However, only Asiacell has complied with the requirement.

Now that Zain has formally applied to list its shares, once that approval is granted, it will have two months to complete the process.

Rather than selling shares before listing as would be usual practice, Zain Iraq will join the stock exchange and allow bids from potential buyers on its first day, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

One unresolved concern has long been that the Iraqi stock market is still very small, and already dominated by the Asiacell listing. Adding Zain, and eventually Korek could lead to a top-heavy stock market that is too heavily dependent on the telecoms industry. Which is an odd situation for a petrochemical dominated economy to find itself in.

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Tags: zain  Iraq