FTI Consulting certainly had its work cut out when Asiacell, Iraq’s second-largest mobile operator, asked it to handle comms for its listing on the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX).
Not only was domestic financial literacy low – only 20 per cent of Iraqis have a bank account and there is no real knowledge of share-ownership culture – but on the international stage the country was still seen as a war zone.
The agency created and executed a major integrated marketing campaign that included getting the ISX to front a high-profile campaign encouraging shares and share ownership and key global financial media to present the country’s economic and business story.
The campaign was a resounding success. Not only was the share offer oversubscribed, it exceeded expectations. Asiacell raised $1.24bn, making it the largest share offer ever in Iraq. The deal was not only a milestone for Asiacell but was also transformative for the ISX, as the high level of foreign interest signalled a boost in investor confidence as well as a heightened interest in the Iraqi market.
After the first day’s trading, Asiacell’s stock had climbed more than five per cent, which doubled the ISX’s total market value to $9bn overnight.
As Diar Ahmed, CEO of Asiacell during the IPO, says: "I cannot understate what a vast undertaking the Asiacell share offer was; it was a truly historic transaction for Iraq."
"An incredible success in one of the toughest and most dangerous cities in the world. An outstanding piece of work"
Simon Whitehead MD, energy and industrials, Hill+Knowlton Strategies