Private equity group MerchantBridge has launched an Iraq equity fund, the Mesopotamia Equity Fund.
The fund is an open ended fund that will capitalise on the expected long term growth of the Iraqi Stock Exchange. The market capitalisation of the exchange, which reopened in 2004, has doubled to USD3bn in the past five years and it currently has more than 90 listed companies, mostly untouched by foreign portfolio managers.
The fund will invest across all sectors in the ISX.
The ISX top 20 companies by market cap have outperformed most OECD and GCC indices since 2008 and are expected to rally over the next decade. Some of its blue chips include North Bank, Credit Bank of Iraq, Mansour Bank, and hospitality group Mansour Hotel.
Basil Al-Rahim, MerchantBridge group chief executive officer, says: “We believe in long term investment opportunities in Iraq. Its sovereign wealth may well exceed many of its GCC neighbors by 2020 and this new fund will be an early mover in the trend towards greater international focus on Iraq’s exciting investment landscape.”