Iraq's fledgling stock exchange suffered a blow Tuesday as more than 20 companies — including some of the major players on the Baghdad-based bourse ISX — were suspended from trading.
A total of 23 companies, including 16 that are partly-owned by the Iraqi government, were suspended for failing to submit annual reports for 2010 or reports for the first quarter of 2011.
But Shwan Ebrahim Taha, chairman at Rabee Securities in Baghdad, told Gulf News that the suspensions were largely the fault of delays in the government auditors' office, and by suspending the companies, the Iraqi Securities Commission was not tackling the root of the problems facing the Iraqi stock market.
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"The Iraqi Securities Commission has all the rights to suspend the companies for not submitting their annual reports, unfortunately they would be punishing the companies and the investors and not the real culprit which is the governmental auditing and accounting body that is delaying the release of these annual reports," Taha said.
"We are hopeful that this action would expedite the release of the annual statements."
Partly government-owned companies include Palestine Hotel (HPAL), Baghdad Motor Cars Servicing, Baghdad Passengers Transport and Iraqi for General Transportation.
Set up in 2004, the ISX replaced the Baghdad Stock Exchange following the fall of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussain during the 2003 US invasion.