ASIA NEWS ANALYSIS: Baghdad beckons

London boutique bank targets conventional opportunity fund returns for Iraq investment vehicle. PERE Magazine July/August 2010 issue

What return fairly reflects the risk of investing in Iraq? Actually an opportunity fund-standard of 20 percent a year, if you speak to London-based boutique house MerchantBridge.

The firm is seeking to put the theory to the test as it sends out prospectuses for its Mesopotamia Fund, which is targeting $50 million of equity to help it buy up stocks in Iraqi hotel companies as well as financial services businesses listed on the Iraq Stock Exchange. The open-ended vehicle will begin with a seed of $5 million.

MerchantBridge’s plans for the war-torn country don’t stop there. In addition to investing in firms listed on the $3.3 billion Iraq stock exchange, the firm is also seeking to raise $40 million from investors to aid the rebuilding of a cement factory outside Baghdad.