Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell’s initial public offering (IPO) will be in the region of $1bn, according to sources familiar with the valuation process. The firm will be listing 25 per cent of its shares on the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) next year. The US’ Morgan Stanley and the UK’s HSBC are managing the process.

“The IPO will involve offering Asiacell’s shares on the ISX with a listing of global depositary receipts (GDRs) on the London Stock Exchange,” says the source.

The mobile operator, part owned by Doha-based Qatar Telecom, is currently in the process of converting from a private limited liability company to a public joint stock company. In September, it issued 10 million shares, worth about $8,500 in total on the ISX for this process.

The IPO is expected to be completed by February next year. It is expected to be the first IPO in Iraq. It is still unknown whether Asiacell will opt for a book-building process or fixed price offering.

Asiacell is preparing to launch third generation (3G) technology sometime next year. “Next year we will focus more on the corporate sector, we see it growing steadily and healthily,” said Diar Ahmed, chief executive officer of Asiacell in an interview with MEED on 12 October.

Market capitalisation of the ISX is expected to double with the IPOs of the telecoms operators next year from the current $4bn to about $8bn.

Asiacell declined to comment on the IPO.