* Asiacell fined for missing deadline
* Rivals Zain and Korek still not listed
By Aseel Kami
BAGHDAD, Aug 9 Mobile phone operator Asiacell
has reached an initial agreement to list on the Iraqi bourse,
the chief executive of the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) said on
Thursday, making it the first mobile operator to do so.
"Asiacell made a request to be listed on the Iraqi bourse
and the Iraq Securities Commission has agreed initially to the
request," Taha Abdulsalam told Reuters.
The Iraq Securities Commission (ISC) is the ISX regulator.
Iraq did not have a mobile phone market under Saddam Hussein
and the sector has boomed since his fall from power in 2003,
offering double-digit subscriber growth. It is the fastest
growing industry in the war-battered country after oil.
Listings for mobile phone companies could boost foreign
interest in the stock exchange, which is dominated by banks.
Asiacell, a unit of Qatar Telecommunications, and
its two rivals in the market, Zain Iraq and Korek,
have to make initial public offerings as a condition of their
$1.25 billion operating licenses.
All three companies missed the deadline of August 2011.
Iraq's communications regulator in June decided to fine
Asiacell $8,500 per day beginning on September 1, 2011 for its
failure to list. Zain Iraq and Korek have also been paying fines
from the same date.
Asiacell said in a statement that it was working through the
final paperwork necessary to complete the listing.
Iraq's bourse is still tiny in comparison with other
regional or international stock markets with a market
capitalisation of around $3.6 billion. That could jump once the
mobile operators are listed.
(Editing by Barry Malone and Helen Massy-Beresford)