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Airtel Africa to raise USD 750 mn via IPO, eyes London listing

twitter-logoPTI | June 4, 2019 | Updated 16:33 IST

(Eds: Adds more details, background) New Delhi, Jun 4 (PTI) Telecom operator Bharti Airtel Tuesday said its subsidiary Airtel Africa expects to raise at least USD 750 million (approx Rs 5,189 crore) through a public offer and plans a subsequent listing on the London Stock Exchange. "The offer is targeted to raise USD 750 million (plus primary greenshoe option of up to 15 per cent) and will be used to reduce net debt," Bharti Airtel said in a regulatory filing. It added that Airtel Africa intends to proceed with an initial public offering for admission and listing of its shares on the main market of London Stock Exchange (premium segment). Additionally, Airtel Africa is also considering listing its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A regulatory filing by Airtel Africa said that the company intends to have a free float of at least 25 per cent of its issued share capital, and certain pre-IPO investors are expected to contribute towards the minimum 25 per cent free float. "The indicative price range in respect of the offer as well as the number of shares to be sold in the offer, will be determined in due course and contained in the prospectus expected to be published by Airtel Africa in the coming weeks," it said. Airtel Africa, last year, raised USD 1.25 billion from six investors including Temasek Holdings Pte, SoftBank Group Corp and Warburg Pincus, giving it an equity value of about USD 4.4 billion. The current valuation is hovering around over USD 5.5 billion, sources say. Airtel Africa -- which offers telecom services in 14 countries in Africa -- has about 98.9 million subscribers and 14.2 million mobile money customers, with Nigeria accounting for the largest single country subscriber base. As on December 31, 2018, Airtel Africa was the second largest mobile operator in Africa by number of active subscribers. Airtel Africa recently reported its first full-year profit at USD 412 million for 2018-19, helped by higher data consumption and Airtel Money penetration. Its revenue increased 5.73 per cent to USD 3,077 million in 2018-19 from USD 2,910 million a year ago. Commenting on the planned offer, Sunil Bharti Mittal Chairman of Airtel Africa had exuded confidence that the company is in a "strong position" to build its own capital market profile. "Since first investing in Africa almost nine years ago, we have well leveraged our expertise in emerging markets to deliver on a clearly-defined strategy to build Airtel Africa into a market leading mobile service provider, increasingly expanding beyond voice into data services and Airtel Money," Mittal had said last month. PTI MBI DRR

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