Iraq gets ready for biggest IPO

For those of us who like to monitor frontier markets, a Reuters piece on the forthcoming IPO of Iraqi telecom group Asiacell is worth reading for a bit of background on the state of the market there.

Obviously, Iraq is a fairly tricky investment for foreign individuals, although DUTrade mentioned a while ago that it is interested in adding to its multimarket Middle East and North Africa platform at some point. There are of course English-speaking local brokers – Rabee Securities seems to be the one most commonly featured in articles in the world media, although I have no idea whether they accept foreign individual clients.

Whether the country is a sensible investment is another matter – resource-heavy frontier markets tend to be very prone to boom and bust and Iraq obviously has specific problems of its own. But there are a handful of specialised funds investing there – the Babylon Fund is probably the best known. (As usual in these kinds of vehicles, minimum investments sizes tend to be high – for understandable reasons, they’re not really geared to the retail investor taking a small punt on something exotic.)

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