Asiacell debut brings rosy outlook for Iraq Stock Exchange [National, The (United Arab Emirates)]
(National, The (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Asiacell raised $1.24 billion through an initial public offering. Above, the company's headquarters in Baghdad. Saad Shalash / Reuters
Hadeel al Sayegh
Valentine's Day came early for Taha Abdulsalam, the chief executive at the Iraq Stock Exchange, who said he had received a dozen bouquets from investors as Asiacell's stock jumped 5 per cent on its first day of trading.
Earlier the mobile phone company raised US$1.24 billion in the Middle East's biggest public share-sale since 2008.
"There's a confidence and trust in our market," said Mr Abdulsalam. "From the liquidity we saw today, from the interest of foreign investors, I can predict that our market will be a focus after the success of this offering."
The shares closed 5.7 per cent higher to 23.25 dinars. It touched its maximum one-day price increase of 10 per cent during the trading session. Stocks on the Iraq Stock Exchange can rise a maximum limit of 10 per cent per day.
About 32 million shares changed hands in Asiacell, whose major shareholder is Qatar Telecom with a 64 per cent stake in the Iraqi operator, a statement said yesterday.
In the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index rose 0.3 per cent higher to 2,889.21 points, while the Dubai Financial Market General Index jumped 0.8 per cent to 1,864.66.
Elsewhere in the region, Kuwait's measure added 0.5 per cent to 6309.86.
Bahrain's index slipped 0.05 per cent to 1,085.40; Oman's MSM 30 Index rose 0.4 per cent to 5,812.61. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index moved 0.11 per cent lower to 7,025.44.
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