DUBAI, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Iraqi telecom operator Asiacell will launch its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) on Jan. 3, a company spokesman said on Monday, in what is likely to be the country’s largest-ever share sale.
Asiacell, a subsidiary of Qatar Telecom (Qtel), aims to sell a quarter of its stock in the IPO and will list on the Iraq Stock Exchange on Feb. 3, the spokesman said.
The company has until Dec. 25 to tell the market regulator the number and price of the shares it wants to sell.
Asiacell - given an enterprise value (equity plus debt) of $4.4 billion in 2011 by brokerage Nomura Holdings - received preliminary approval from Iraqi regulators to launch its share sale in August this year.
Morgan Stanley ceased to be a bookrunner on the IPO in September, signalling it will increasingly rely on local investors.
Asiacell and rival operators Zain Iraq (a subsidiary of Kuwait’s Zain ) and France Telecom affiliate Korek had been required to float a quarter of their shares by August 2011 as part of their $1.25 billion licence agreements.
All have yet to do so and the planned share offerings would still be the first major IPOs since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The Iraq Stock Exchange, whose listed stocks have a combined market capitalisation of about $3.7 billion, has a daily share trading volume of around $3.2 million. (Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Dinesh Nair and David Holmes)