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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 23rd May 2019).

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

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD640 (+3.0%) / $689 (+3.0%) (weekly change) (-2.9% and -2.9% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 9.4 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD3.2 bn ($2.6 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • ISX will suspend trading of Al-Khatem Telecoms (TZNI) starting May. 27, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on May. 30, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 and 2018 annual financial reports.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Al-Wiaam for Financial Investment (VWIF) starting May. 27, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on May. 30, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial report.
  • National Household Furniture Industry (IHFI) will resume trading on May. 26, 2019 due to disclosing its 2018 annual financial results. The opening price will be IQD0.90 with +/-50% change.
  • AL-Sadeer Hotel (HSAD) completed the legal procedures to increase capital from IQD1.239 bn to IQD1.735 bn through 40% rights issue.
  • Region Trade Bank for Investment and Finance (BRTB) completed the procedures of increasing the bank’s original and alternative members from 5 to 7 members.
  • New shares of Dar Al-Salam for Insurance (NDSA) from the capital increase to IQD7.0 bn through 40% rights issue resumed trading on May. 22, 2019.
  • Iraqi for Seed Production (AISP) resumed trading on May. 21, 2019 due to disclosing 2018 annual financial results.
  • Procedures of Al-Bilad Islamic Bank for Investment & Finance (BLAD) have been completed to change the bank’s name to Al-Ataa Islamic Bank for Investment & Finance.
  • According to the Board of Insurance, Ahliya for Insurance (NAHF) resumed trading on May. 19, 2019.

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

Last week, the US Embassy in Baghdad ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. Government employees from Iraq, as tension mounts between the Trump administration and neighbouring Iran. In the meantime, several other organisations have taken similar moves.

While this has made headlines, has there been any real change on the ground?

Iraq Business News spoke with Martin Aggar, General Manager of Al-Burhan Security, to get his perspective on developments.

He says that while some people have changed their travel plans in response to the increased tensions, in practice little has changed in Baghdad:

Our operations team is closely monitoring the situation, and apart from one minor incident last night, there has not been a significant increase in security-related activity or general threat levels.

“Nevertheless, some clients have chosen not to leave our secure accommodation at the Al-Burhan Centre.

“But with meeting facilities on site, and also at our villa in Al-Mansour, we can still help them to see the people they need to see while visiting Iraq. We’re equipped for all situations.”

The events of the past week seem to many to be at odds with the general trend in Iraq. Aggar explains:

This all comes against a background of steadily improving conditions in Iraq; people feel safer, infrastructure is improving, and international companies are taking more of an interest in the opportunities to be had here.

“That’s why we’ve invested in the newest and best armoured vehicles, a VIP meet-and-greet service at the airport, and the full package of services that executives need and expect when they come here to do business.

“And our sister company Al-Burhan Airways is the only private operator licensed to fly helicopters in Iraq, so we can bring visitors quickly and safely wherever they need to be in the country.

Asked how he expects this to play out, he says:

The current tensions are the result of Iran-US relations, and while they don’t originate in Iraq, they do of course influence this country.  

“However, the Iraqi government is very focussed on developing the economy and moving Iraq forward.

“The opportunities are huge and the people are determined to succeed; I think in future we’ll look back on this as the early stage of a boom period for Iraq.

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, has completed the private placement of USD 400 million of new, five-year senior unsecured bonds with a coupon rate of 8.375 percent.

The bond placement received strong investor demand across international markets and was oversubscribed.

The bond issue is expected to be settled on or about 29 May 2019, subject to customary conditions precedent.

An application will be made for the bonds to be listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. In connection with the bond placement, the Company has agreed to buy back USD 60 million in nominal value of DNO01 bonds (ISIN NO 0010740392) at 104.16 percent of par plus accrued interest and USD 10 million in nominal value of FAPE01 bonds originally issued by Faroe Petroleum plc in 2017 (ISIN NO 0010811268) at 107.50 percent of par plus accrued interest.

In addition to partial refinancing of the DNO01 and FAPE01 bonds, net proceeds from the new bond issue will be used for general corporate purposes.

Danske Bank and Pareto Securities AS acted as joint lead managers and bookrunners with SpareBank 1 Markets AS as co-manager and bookrunner.

(Source: DNO)

(Picture: Bonds, from Alexskopje/Shutterstock)

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 16th May 2019).

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

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD622 (+4.3%) / $669 (+4.3%) (weekly change) (-5.7% and -5.7% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 7.1 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD2.6 bn ($2.1 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Fallujah for Construction Materials (IFCM) will hold an AGM* on May. 29, 2019 to discuss and approve 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 annual financial results. The company has been suspended from trading since Jul. 6, 2015 by an ISC decision due to not disclosing 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 annual financial results.
  • According to the Board of Insurance, Ahliya for Insurance (NAHF) will resume trading on Sunday (May. 19, 2019).
  • Dar Al-Salam for Insurance (NDSA) completed its capital increase procedures from IQD5.0 bn to IQD7.0 bn through 40% rights issue.
  • Babylon Hotel (HBAY) invited its shareholders on May. 14, 2019 to receive their cash dividend for the years between 1997 and 2001 as well as the year of 2016.

By John Lee.

According to Miriam Malek, writing for S&P Global Platts, Iraq is again becoming a viable destination for energy investment after the final defeat of Islamic State and the election of a new government revived interest in the region’s second-largest oil producer.

The US, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran are now vying for a share in the spoils.

Click here to read the full article.

(Source: S&P Global Platts)

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 9th May 2019).

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

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD596 (+1.8%) / $642 (+1.8%) (weekly change) (-9.6% and -9.6% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 7.5 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD4.0 bn ($3.3 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Ready-Made Clothes (IRMC) invited its shareholders to receive their cash dividend (5% cash dividend, IQD0.05 dividend per share) starting May. 12, 2019.
  • According to the Board of Insurance, Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance (NGIR) will resume trading on May. 12, 2019 due to the company’s commitment to the Board of Insurance’s letter.
  • Al-Mansour Bank (BMNS) invited its shareholders to receive their cash dividend (7% cash dividend, IQD0.07 dividend per share) starting May. 8, 2019.
  • Al-Khazer for Construction Materials (IKHC) resumed trading on May. 6, 2019 due to disclosing 2018 annual financial results.
  • Kurdistan International Islamic Bank (BKUI) resumed trading on May. 5, 2019 after electing 4 original and 7 alternative board members.

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has published details of a new round of solar energy projects:

The Ministry of Electricity is please to invite local, regional and international Independent Power Producers (IPP) to submit Expressions of interest (EOI) to embark into a proposed reverse auctioning round for SEVEN (7) Green field solar PV IPP projects (each a “project”) with a potential combined capacity of 755MWp.

A project involves the design, finance, construction operation and maintenance of a utility scale solar power project to the Ministry on a Build, Own and Operate (BOO) basis. A dedicated Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) shall be established to undertake the construction and operation of each project.

The Ministry, in its commercial capacity as a grid operator, will connect the SPV to the Iraqi transmission grid under a Transmission Connection Contract (TCC) and, in its capacity as owner of the land, will lease the land to the SPV under a Land Lease Contract (LLC). Also, the Ministry will purchase produced electricity from the SPV under the terms of the power purchase Contract (PPC).

The Ministry expects these project(s) to employ around 1300 people in the Republic of Iraq and supply more than 250,000 households with critically needed electricity supply.

The following projects are available :

  • Sawa-1 Solar PV IPP with a capacity of 30 MWp to be located in Muthana Province,
  • Sawa-2 Solar PV IPP with a capacity of 50 MWp to be located in Muthana Province,
  • Khidhir Solar PV IPP with a capacity of 50 MWp to be located in Muthana Province,
  • Iskanariya Solar PV IPP with a capacity of 225 MWp to be located in Babil Province,
  • Jissan Solar PV IPP with a capacity of 50 MWp to be located in Wassit Province,
  • Karbala Solar PV IPP with a capacity of 300 MWp to be located in Karbala Province,
  • Al-Diwania Solar PV IPP with a capacity of 50 MWp to be located in Diwania  Province,

The above project(s) may, at the Ministry’s discretion, be tendered on a standalone basis or grouped. For the proposed tender, the Ministry will conduct a transparent, fair and competitive reverse auctioning process to select a developer or a consortium for a single or a group of project(s).

Parties interested in participating (the “respondent”) in the process must fulfill the following pre- requisites for short listing:

  • Successful, proven and verifiable technical and financial capability and experience of no less than 10 years in developing renewable energy IPP Project(s) of no capacity less than 50 MW on an individual and not collective project basis, particularly utility scale solar PV projects.
  • An average annual turnover of more than US$ 10 Million for the last three years solely from revenues obtained via renewable energy projects development and operatorship, preferable majorly from solar PV projects.
  • Previously awarded projects should have been tendered according to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model on similar auctions regionally or globally.
  • The respondent must have registered and licensed official regional and international offices.
  • The respondent must demonstrate previous initiative towards social responsibility and willingness to contribute to capacity building, to integrate local content, and to support the nascent renewable energy manufacturing and service sectors in the republic of Iraq.
  • The respondent must have never been barred by the Government of the Republic of Iraq, or any entity controlled or regulated by them, from participating in any project or conducting work of any form in the Republic of Iraq, including the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Also this applies to any other government, or any entity controlled or regulated by any other government.

Respondents that fulfill the requirements above shall express their interest to participate in the tender process by 29 April.2019 and the finnnal time to receive the (IPP) documentation 60 days from the announced date.

The number call of is MOE- HQ5/ 2019 An package (the “package”) must be sent in electronic copy format (a single PDF file) from an official business email address to 32_contracts@moelc.gov.iq

The requirements set herein;

  • Name of the respondent
  • Name and contact details (Postal address, telephone number, and email address) for the appropriate point of contact (Point of Contact) to whom future correspondence may be sent; and
  • Where the respondent is considering potential consortium partners, an indication of such intention and details of potential consortium partners (to the extent it is known).

The Ministry will not consider any proposals or packages submitted by mail, in person, or via liaison.

The following submission of the EOI, and after passing this stage this stage the respondent will bay the documentation (RFQ). The RFQ will include further information, including a description of the project(s), an outline of the tender process and eligibility criteria for pre- qualification.

The announcement shall not constitute in any way a commitment by the Ministry to proceed with the next stage, hold the proposed reverse auction, announce the tender, award any project or comply with the information provided herein. The Ministry retains the right to amend the scopes of the project(s), modify, extend, cancel or suspend the project(s), at any time for any reason without clarification or any liabilities for the Ministry or any other entity of the Government of the republic of Iraq.

This announcement shall be considered a complementary and integral part of the Project(s) Documentation.

(Source: NIC)

By Ahmed Tabaqchali, CIO of Asia Frontier Capital (AFC) Iraq Fund.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The market, as measured by the Rabee Securities RSISUSD Index, increased by +2.5% in April, bringing the YTD decline to -11.8%. Average daily turnover, excluding block transactions, declined -32% from the prior month, and at 60% of the average turnover for the last 12 months, is the second lowest for the period. Foreign selling, the cause of the last few weeks’ declines, seems to have exhausted itself (chart below) and in the process prices lifted higher.

(Source: Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX), Asia Frontier Capital)

The early signs of the return of the liquidity to the real economy, reported here over the last few months, are becoming more convincing as the healing effects of increasing oil revenues are continuing to filter down into the broader economy. The continued recovery in broad money, i.e. M2 as a proxy for economic activity, is adding to this conviction due to its sensitivity to oil revenues (chart below)- given the central role of government’s spending on non-oil economic activity.

(Source: Central Bank of Iraq, Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Asia Frontier Capital)

(Note: M2 as of Jan with AFC est.’s for Feb & Mar; Oil revenues as of Mar with AFC est.’s for Apr)

Driving this recovery in M2 has been the growth of monetary base, or M0, which in turn has been based on the growth in one its two main components “Iraqi Dinar (IQD) current account (C/A) component of banks’ reserves with the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI)” as can be seen in the chart below. The recovery of this component of M0 is a direct result of the growth of customer deposits (consumers, businesses and government) held with banks.

(Source: Central Bank of Iraq, Asia Frontier Capital)

(Note: M0 as of Mar, IQD C/A component of bank’s reserves as of late Apr)

The estimated increase in M2 (prior chart) for March is based on recent M2/M0 multiplier figures and actual increases in M0 for the month. Persistent growth as of late April in IQD Current Account component of banks’ reserves with the CBI (a function of sustained growth in customer deposits with banks) is an early indicator for a continued recovery of M0 and hence in M2 in April (above chart). However, more data over the next few months is needed to establish if this trend is sustainable.

Supporting this growth in customers deposits are the 2018 results for the Bank of Baghdad (BBOB) which showed the first year-over-year growth in customer deposits following their peak in 2014. While BBOB’s year-over-year deposit growth at +5.2% is a far cry from the +25.8% growth reported by the Bank of Mansour (BMN), never-the-less, it was a function of corporate customers deposit growth. Moreover, BBOB’s provision expenses decreased contributing to an overall decline in total provisions (ex-income tax) of -2.3%. Combined they indicates that the macro forces which contributed to BMNS’s recovery, as discussed last month, are spreading to the sector as a whole and should therefore create the conditions for a recovery in the sector.

However, BBOB doesn’t enjoy the same financial strength as BMNS, which is a function of BBOB’s heady expansion during the boom years up to 2014, which among other things resulted in a large loan book relative to other banks, and hence exposure to riskier loans. Growth for BBOB took a back seat while management’s focus over the last few years was on addressing the company specific issues and structural weaknesses that were exposed by the pains of 2014-2017, including the crush in FX margins witnessed in 2018. This can be seen through the other metrics for BBOB in that while its assets and equity increased by +2.1% and +0.2% respectively in 2018 over 2017, its loan book and interest income declined by -4.7% and -38.0% respectively. The decline in its interest income was made worse by the decline in interest earned from government bonds and deposits with the CBI. BBOB’s challenges during the years of contraction were explored here in August.

Finally, mobile operator AsiaCell (TASC) leverage to the economic recovery was confirmed by its continued confidence in its future outlook with a distribution of a 12% dividend. This comes on the back of last year’s 12% dividend and the prior year’s 14% dividend.

The continued signs of economic recovery, mixed as they are in as this early stage, underscore the opportunity to acquire attractive assets that have yet to discount a sustainable economic recovery. On the other hand, the market’s recovery in April on low turnover suggest that a long consolidation and a significant recovery in turnover are needed before it can embark on the next move.

Please click here to download Ahmed Tabaqchali’s full report in pdf format.

Mr Tabaqchali (@AMTabaqchali) is the CIO of the AFC Iraq Fund, and is an experienced capital markets professional with over 25 years’ experience in US and MENA markets. He is a non-resident Fellow at the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani (AUIS), and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at AUIS. He is a board member of the Credit Bank of Iraq.

His comments, opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any fund or security or to adopt any investment strategy. It does not constitute legal or tax or investment advice. The information provided in this material is compiled from sources that are believed to be reliable, but no guarantee is made of its correctness, is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding Iraq, the region, market or investment.

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 2nd May 2019).

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

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD586 (+0.2%) / $630 (+0.2%) (weekly change) (-11.2% and -11.3% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 1.5 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD1.1 bn ($0.9 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Iraqi Carton Manufactories (IICM) will hold an AGM* on May. 9, 2019 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results. The company has been suspended from trading since Aug. 6, 2017 due to not disclosing 2016 and 2017 annual financial results.
  • Asiacell (TASC) invited its shareholders to receive their cash dividend (100% cash dividend, 12.2% dividend yield) starting May 2, 2019.
  • ISX suspended trading of Kurdistan International Islamic Bank (BKUI) starting Apr. 29, 2019 due to the GA that will be held on May. 4, 2019 to elect 4 original and 7 alternative board members. The bank will resume trading on May. 5, 2019.

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

More than 100 guests gathered at the Babylon Hotel in Baghdad on Tuesday to attend Iraq’s first Tech Conference.

Hosted by the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) and chaired by Ashley Goodall, the event brought together the leading companies involved in the technology sector in Iraq to discuss how the power of the tech economy can benefit the country.

Among the many speakers and contributors during the day, Mohammed Khudairi of Iraq Tech Ventures emphasised the need to create the right environment for innovative companies, adding:

“We want to create a cluster of inovation as they’ve done in San Francisco, as they’ve done in London, and in many other places around the world; Iraq has the skillset, the talent and the motivation to make this happen, and has a great path ahead of it over the coming years.”

Patricia Letayf of Five One Labs discussed the changes they’re working to bring about in Iraq:

“When you hear the word “Iraq” we want you to think of start-ups and innovation … we want Iraq to be a focal point and a competitive business environment.”

According to Mohammed al Hakim, of Careem Iraq:

“There is no lack of human capital in Iraq — there is a lack of investment in human capital in Iraq.”

The event, along with the Start-Up Championship the previous evening, forged connections between people from various disciplines and locations, and will doubtless be a starting point for many of tomorrow’s success stories.