One of Iraq’s largest mobile operators, Asiacell, is in the process of raising $1.3 billion for an IPO. It’s the country’s first deal since the U.S. invaded it in 2003.
If the transaction is a success, it will definitely be a huge boost to confidence. Iraq will need to attract outside capital, as well as build its infrastructure, if it wants to grow.
While U.S. IPOs tend to be focused on institutional investors, Iraq is instead looking to retail buyers. Consider that the share price is only 2 cents. To drum up support for the deal, Asiacell has even placed ads in Iraqi newspapers and other media.
It seems like a good bet that it will generate interest. Founded in 1999, Asiacell is a popular consumer brand in Iraq, with about 10 million subscribers and a market share of about 43%.
Yet skepticism abounds that Iraq can pull off a large deal, especially since its stock market has fairly light trading. After all, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and HSBC (NYSE:HBC) recently ended their roles as underwriters for the transaction.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook” and “High-Profit IPO Strategies: Finding Breakout IPOs for Investors and Traders.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.