UPDATE 1-Kuwait's Zain aims to float Iraqi unit in Q1/2013
* Listing of Zain Iraq to be completed by end of Q1
* Timing depends on regulatory approvals
* Zain's stake in unit may drop to 51 pct after IPO, from 76 pct (Adds details, background)
ABU DHABI, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Kuwaiti mobile operator Zain said on Wednesday it aims to list its Iraqi unit by the end of the first quarter next year pending receipt of regulatory approvals.
Zain Iraq, along with rival operators Asiacell - a unit of Qatar Telecom (Qtel) - and France Telecom affiliate Korek must sell a quarter of their shares to investors via an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to meet the conditions for their mobile phone licenses in Iraq.
The operators have already missed a deadline of August 2011 for the IPOs and been fined for doing so.
"Zain would like to clarify that it is expected to finish the listing procedure by the end of the first quarter of 2013," the company said in a statement to the bourse.
"Keeping in mind that the listing process is subject to approvals from official and regulatory Iraqi authorities and that the company doesn't have the ability to control the timings of these approvals," the statement added.
A Kuwaiti paper had earlier said the listing would occur in the first quarter.
Earlier this month, a top Zain executive said the Iraqi unit still needs to convert to a joint stock company in preparation for the float. Chief Operating Officer Hisham Akbar also said a listing would "most probably" be on the Iraq Stock Exchange but that Zain has also considered listings in Jordan and London.
Zain's shareholding in Zain Iraq would fall to 51 percent from 76 percent should the IPO be fully subscribed, Akbar said. (Reporting by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Dinesh Nair)
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