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Iraq: Baghdad Stock Exchange to Reopen in Hotel

Financial Times
January 22nd, 2004

After several months of work by financial and technical advisers with the US-led civilian authority in Iraq, a revamped Baghdad stock exchange is due to open this month, temporarily housed in a disused hotel.


The exchange last traded officially on March 19 2003, the day before the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein was launched.


Bankers say the plan is to relist 10-15 stocks a month, with companies only being requoted after their accounts have been verified by internationally recognised auditors. Checks will also be made with big shareholders to weed out former regime members.


Ultimately, the country's 114 listed companies could be quoted on the exchange, which was launched in 1992 and became a hotbed of speculation.


Maria Khoury, head of research at Atlas Investment Group, a Jordanian investment bank, believes the market will offer regional and international investors an opportunity to test Iraq's financial waters without overcommitting in a high security risk country.


Atlas this week launched a comprehensive guide to Iraq's capital markets. It contains research on all 114 companies set to relist, as well as more than 40 formerly state-owned enterprises that may soon be privatised.

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