Iraq’s biggest mobile phone operator, Zain Iraq, has invested about $20 million in its efforts to list on the local stock exchange, according to a report from Reuters.
Chief executive Emad Makiya told the agency:
“We have invested a lot of money. We have invested over $20 million in this. We have hired lawyers, we have brought (in) bankers … There are so many processes involved, so many things. It is not as easy as you think.“
Zain has appointed BNP Paribas, Citigroup and National Bank of Kuwait to run its offering.
As part of the $1.25 billion operating licence it won in 2007, the company was required to list on the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) by August of last year, but along with rivals Asiacell and Korek it failed to do so.
The first step for the three operators is to convert to shareholder-owned companies and then obtain approval from the ISX board and Iraq’s securities commission, but so far only Asiacell has transferred into a shareholders’ company.
Zain, which has about 12.5 million subscribers, announced on Thursday that it had dropped prices for all its tariffs in Iraq, lowering the price for all calls made between 8am and midnight by 30 percent.
Makiya said he was hopeful the mobile phone company would be granted a 3G operating licence this year and said that it planned to market more aggressively in the autonomous northern Kurdish region, where it only started operation in early 2011 and lags behind its competitors.
“Our entry into Kurdistan was a bit late, but that doesn’t mean we are going to stop investing,” he said.