IPO deadline is the major challenge for Zain Iraq

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Zain Iraq is facing its biggest challenge to meet a deadline in August to launch an initial public offering and it is learnt that the company may end up floating less than a regulator mandated 25 percent stake.

“We had started the process some time ago,” Zain Iraq chief executive Emad Makiya said by email. “However, meeting the deadline would be a big challenge.”

Under the terms of licenses (issued in 2007); Zain Iraq and rival operators Asiacell, an affiliate of Qatar Telecom (Qtel), and Korek-part owned by France Telecome, must sell at least 25 percent of their shares and need to be listed on the Iraq Stock Exchange by August. With less than nine weeks to the deadline and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan due to start in early August, the three carriers have offered only vague assurances of their intentions to list.

Should the IPO go ahead, Zain Iraq will use the proceeds to finance its expansion and settle “financial dues.

Sources: Arabian Business; REUTERS

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