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Asiacell IPO Fully Subscribed in Biggest Mideast Sale Since 2008

Asiacell Communications PJSC’s share sale, the Middle East’s biggest initial public offering since 2008, was fully subscribed before its closing date, according to the Iraqi IPO’s organizer.

“The offering is now comfortably covered with a good mix of retail and institutional demand from within Iraq as well as institutional and high net worth demand from abroad,” Shwan Ibrahim Taha, chairman of Rabee Securities, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News today. Asiacell Chief Executive Officer Diar Ahmed confirmed the subscription in a phone interview.

Asiacell, majority-owned by Qatar Telecom QSC, (QTEL) planned to raise 1.49 trillion dinars ($1.3 billion), the most for an IPO in the Middle East and North Africa since Saudi Arabian Mining Co.’s (MAADEN) share sale more than four years ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The IPO will help double the market value of the Iraq Stock Exchange, Chief Executive Officer Taha Ahmed Abdul-Salam al-Rubaye said in a Jan. 7 interview.

Asiacell offered 67.5 billion shares, or 25 percent of its share capital, in the IPO that opened Jan. 3. The offering will close Feb. 2 and shares are due to start trading Feb. 3 in Baghdad.

The phone operator obtained a 15-year mobile telecommunications license in 2007 and had 43 percent market share by revenue at the end of September, with 9.9 million individual and corporate subscribers, it said last month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nayla Razzouk in Dubai at nrazzouk2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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