By John Lee.

Ride-sharing services Uber, from the United States, and Careem of Dubai, have reached an agreement for Uber to acquire Careem for $3.1 billion, consisting of $1.7 billion in convertible notes and $1.4 billion in cash. The acquisition of Careem is subject to applicable regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020.

Uber will acquire all of Careem’s mobility, delivery, and payments businesses across the greater Middle East region, ranging from Morocco to Pakistan, with major markets including Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Upon closing, Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, preserving its brand. Careem co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha will lead the Careem business, which will report to its own board made up of three representatives from Uber and two representatives from Careem. Careem and Uber will operate their respective regional services and independent brands.

Established in July 2012, Careem operates in 120 cities across 15 countries and has created more than one million economic opportunities in the region.

Careem entered the Iraqi market in January 2018.

(Source: Uber)

By John Lee.

UK-based recruiter Samuel Knight International has reportedly announced plans to open a new office in Baghdad.

According to Business Leader, the company focuses on the rail and energy sectors, and recently received investment from Gresham House Ventures.

In recent days, another British recruitment agency, SSK Recruitment, was reported to be looking to open an office in Erbil.

(Source: Business Leader)

The chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission hailed an agreement to ease visa restrictions between the Islamic Republic and Iraq as a major achievement of President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the Arab country.

“The president’s visit to Iraq after the withdrawal of Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) from the country and the elimination of the terrorist group is important because it can develop investments and strategic relations between Tehran and Baghdad,” Heshmatollah Falahat Pishe told Tasnim.

He further emphasized that the visit is also important because Iraq can play a major role in countering the sanctions imposed by the US against Iran.

The senior lawmaker also referred to the easing of visa restrictions between Iran and Iraq as one of the most important achievements of Rouhani’s visit to Iraq, the senior lawmaker added.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Rouhani arrived in Baghdad on Monday at the official invitation of the Iraqi government. It is Rouhani’s first official visit to Iraq during his tenure.

Iran and Iraq enjoy cordial political, security and cultural ties but due to some internal and regional problems including Daesh terrorism in Iraq, they have not been able to increase their trade volume.

Iran’s main exports to the neighboring country include agro products, foodstuff and fruits such as watermelon, tomato and cucumber, which account for 37% of the total exports.

Other Iranian exports to Iraq include canned food, tomato paste, chicken, egg, meat, construction materials (mainly rebar, tiles and ceramics), steel and evaporative cooler.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By Julian Pecquet for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

US singles out ‘mafia’-like groups as key threat to Iraq’s future

The United States welcomes Iraq’s desire to be a “bridge” to its neighbors but will not accept “malign” Iranian influence that undermines Iraqi sovereignty, two top State Department officials told Al-Monitor.

In a joint interview Wednesday at the State Department, Assistant Secretary for Conflict and Stabilization Operations Denise Natali and Deputy Assistant for Iraq and Iran Andrew Peek emphasized the primacy of Iraqi sovereignty in US policy and a desire to work with Baghdad to address Iranian-backed militias that operate outside the control of Baghdad.

The pair encouraged “balanced” state-to-state relations between Iraq and all of its neighbors after returning from a delegation to Iraq earlier this month that was led by Natali and also attended by Peek.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) is organising a Facilitating the Implementation of the IFSB Standards (FIS) Workshop in Baghdad, Iraq on 1 – 3 April 2019.

This Workshop is hosted by the Central Bank of Iraq (CBL).

The 3-day Workshop will focus on the following IFSB Standards:

  • IFSB-15: Revised Capital Adequacy Standard for Institutions Offering Islamic Financial Services (IIFS);
  • GN-3:Guidance Note on the Practice of Smoothing the Profit Payout to Investment Account Holders;
  • GN-4:Guidance Note in Connection with the IFSB Capital Adequacy Standard: The Determination of Alpha in the Capital Adequacy Ratio for IIFS; and
  • GN-6:Guidance Note on Quantitative Measures for Liquidity Risk Management

Overall, the Workshop aims to:

  1. Enhance the participants’ understanding of the respective Standards and Guiding Principles;
  2. Assist the participants in the practical application of issues addressed in the particular standards through case studies, hands-on exercises and other interactive tools; and
  3. Promote the sharing of experiences among the participants on the implementation of respective IFSB Standards and Guiding Principles.

The FIS Workshops are a part of the IFSB’s support to its members based on the Strategic Key Result Area 2 (SKRA 2) on the Facilitating the Implementation of Prudential Standards and Capacity Development under the IFSB’s Strategic Performance Plan (SPP) 2016-2018”, to assist member organisations in adopting and implementing the IFSB Standards.

For enquires on IFSB workshops and membership services, please contact the IFSB Secretariat at ifsb_sec@ifsb.org.

(Source: IFSB)

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 21st March 2019).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD589 (-2.5%) / $634 (-2.6%) (weekly change) (-10.6% and -10.7% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 4.1 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD1.8 bn ($1.5 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • ISX will suspend trading of Iraq Noor Islamic Bank for Investment (BINI) starting Mar. 25, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on Mar. 28 to discuss and approve 2018 annual financial results.
  • Al-Mansour Bank (BMNS) resumed trading on Mar. 20, 2019 after discussing and approving 2018 annual financial results and deciding to distribute 7% cash dividend (IQD0.07 dividend per share, 9.7% dividend yield).
  • Middle East Producing & Marketing – Fish (AMEF) resumed trading on Mar. 20, 2019 after electing new board members.
  • According to ISC announcement published on Mar. 20, 2019, Al-Harir for Money Transfer (MTAH) has been delisted from the Iraq Stock Exchange.
  • ISX suspended trading of Trans Iraq Bank for Investment (BTRI) starting Mar. 17, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on Mar. 20, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial results.
  • United Bank (BUND) resumed trading on Mar. 17, 2019 by the CBI decision to remove the custody from the bank due to completing the procedure of electing new board members.

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Women in Iraq push to Criminalise Domestic Violence

Domestic violence has been on the rise in Iraq, with women’s groups blaming instability and the break down of law and order.

However, there has been a growing awareness of the issue at the highest levels of government and the women’s rights groups are hopeful that the legislature will finally pass a law criminalising what they see as a “national crisis”.

The penal code currently has a provision allowing husbands to discipline their wives and does not criminalise domestic violence.

Al Jazeera‘s Natasha Ghoneim reports from Baghdad:

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has hosted a workshop on investing in the tourism sector and hotels business in Iraq.

The event was prepared in cooperation with the US Department of Commerce and the US Embassy in Baghdad, and was attended by the heads of the five-star hotels in Baghdad and other provinces.

NIC Chairman Dr. Sami Al-Araji emphasised the importance of the tourism sector for the GDP of any country and especially in Iraq, which has religious shrines and archeological sites.

(Source: NIC)