Asiacell IPO "to be a Sell-Out"

By John Lee.

Asiacell's $1.35 billion share sale will be fully subscribed, bookrunner Rabee Securities has told Reuters.

Shwan Ibrahim Taha, chairman Rabee Securities, said:

"I knew there would be interest, I just didn't know how much - I can say that we will easily cover it. We will be fully subscribed ... We are opening up a lot of accounts and we are not refusing anyone. Very roughly, it is half Iraqi and half international."

The company is due to list on the Iraqi stock market (ISX) on 3rd February following a month-long book-building process, aiming to sell 67.5 billion shares for at least 22 Iraqi dinars ($0.02) per share.

But, warning that the offering represented a huge amount of shares to be sold in the space of a month, chairman of the ISX board of governors Layth Sulaiman said "I am optimistic that 50 percent of the shares offered will be covered".

The ISX website said buy orders must total at least 75 percent of the shares offered, with the exchange to announce the size of the order book on Jan. 31. If orders are below this benchmark, the sale will be cancelled and the process will start again.

Qatar's Qtel is expected to account for much of the demand, likely using the share sale to raise its stake from 53.9 percent to at least 60 percent, as previously agreed in a $1.5 billion deal in June that increased its holding from 30 percent. Farouk Group Holding is thought to be main seller.

(Source: Reuters)

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