Thursday, 4 December 2008

Iraq revisited

Danfonds had a one on one with Bjorn Englund, the manager of the Babylon fund, today in Copenhagen. Bjorn is one of those managers who inspires confidence and is prepared to push the traditional boundaries of investment out to their geographic limits.

Iraq is not a stock picking market but rather a politically driven one. We therefore prefer to access it through a basket or a fund such as Babylon. Although an oil resource story, the listed companies are largely banks. These are generally small. Even Dar El Salam Investment Bank, owned 70% by HSBC, is only USD 248m. Commercial Bank of Iraq, however, sounded more interesting to us, standing on a PE of 5 and PB of 1. There is, as they say, a price for everything.

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