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Capital Markets

Iraq funds: Funds look for value in reconstruction and growth

"Our aim is to provide long-term capital growth from an investment portfolio consisting of Iraqi and Iraqi-dependent securities." So reads the opening line of a monthly report for the Babylon Fund, a long-only mutual fund run by Godvig Capital Management, which is domiciled in the British Virgin Islands.

Despite the mounting deaths, the violence and the political uncertainty, some hardy investors are searching out opportunities in Iraq. And although the number of dedicated funds can be counted on the fingers of one hand, interest is growing. In August, for example, the first hedge fund offering investors exposure to the war-torn country was launched. The Iraq Fund is domiciled in Delaware and is managed by Iraq Fund Management. It focuses primarily on state-owned enterprises and the banking sector on the Iraq Stock Exchange.

"The fledgling Iraqi banking sector and Iraqi SOEs offer a unique opportunity, as they are greatly undervalued in light of their growth prospects and the infusion of cash from the [US] Department of Defense, the Iraqi government and other sources," says fund manager Dave Packard in a press release.

"The [fund] intends to implement a disciplined, consistent, event-driven trading strategy and will seek to uncover investment candidates whose public market value is at a significant discount to the actual underlying value of the company and its assets," he adds.

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