Iraq’s market-leading operator has been hit even harder than its peers by regulatory action, with the country’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) hitting Zain with a hefty fine for missing an IPO deadline. Fellow operators Korek Telecom and Asiacell have already received similar punishments.
The terms of the mobile licences stipulated that each operator had until August 2011 to list a percentage of its shares on the Iraq Stock Exchange. Since all three operators failed to do this – citing concerns over the relatively new exchange – they must now face the consequences.
While Asiacell and Korek Telecom were issued with their fines before Zain, the market leader’s fine is notably higher - US$12,864 for each day that it has not listed on the exchange (i.e. since September 1st 2011). This compares to US$8,500 per day for Asiacell and US$2,500 per day for Korek. Zain’s total is therefore in the region of US$4 million.
The CMC reportedly stated that all of the operators had held their licences for four years by the time they were required to list on the exchange – ample preparation time that left “no excuse” for missing the deadline.