Airtel Africa to go public on the Nigeria Stock Exchange

FEW weeks after MTN Nigeria went public on the Nigeria Stock Exchange, Airtel Africa Ltd, a subsidiary of Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel Ltd, is considering a stock market flotation in London with plans to go public on the Nigeria Stock Exchange too.

The company on Tuesday said it was part of its efforts to expand its data and mobile money services across Africa, with plans to trade on the main market of the LSE and NSE.

Using its premium listing segment, which has more stringent rules than the European Union’s minimum requirements, Airtel intends to sell 25 per cent of new shares to reduce existing debt.

“The 14 countries where we operate offer strong GDP growth potential and have young and fast-growing populations, low customer and data penetration and inadequate banking infrastructure.

“These fast-growing markets provide us a great opportunity to grow both our telecom and payments businesses,” Raghunath Mandava, chief executive Airtel said in a statement.

The company is aiming to raise around $1 billion in a June equity offering, Reuters reported.

The cash injection from existing investors has already helped to reduce Airtel Africa’s net debt to $4 billion in March, compared to $7.7 billion in the previous year. Its net income reached $83 million in the year to March, compared to a net loss of $49 million a year earlier.

The telecom company operates in 14 African markets including Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Uganda and Zambia.

The company has appointed JP Morgan, Citigroup Inc, BofA Merrill Lynch, Absa Group Limited, Barclays Bank PLC, HSBC, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs International and Standard Bank Group Ltd as advisers if the flotation plans proceeds.

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