Airtel Africa eyes listing on London and Nigerian Bourses

Airtel Africa, a subsidiary of Indian telecoms group, Bharti Airtel Ltd, announced on Tuesday, May 28, that it is considering floating its stock at the London stock market.

This comes seven months after the company raised $1.25 billion investment by six leading global investors, including Warburg Pincus, Temasek, Singtel and SoftBank Group International and others and recently raising $200 million from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), valuing the company just under $5 billion. The company plans to expand its data and mobile money services across Africa after this listing.

“These fast-growing markets provide us with a great opportunity to grow both our telecom and payments businesses,” the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at Bharti Airtel Africa Raghunath Mandava said in a statement.

The Telco is seeking to trade on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, using its premium listing segment, which has more stringent rules than the European Union’s minimum requirements.

According to a source who spoke to Reuters news, the company is looking at raising around $1 billion in a June equity offering. The telecoms operator is also looking at listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Although, it is reported that the cash injection from existing investors has already helped to reduce Airtel Africa’s net debt to $4 billion in March this year, compared to $7.7 billion in March 2018. It also plans to sell 25 percent of new shares to reduce existing debt. As at  March this year, its net income reached $83 million compared to a net loss of $49 million recorded in 2018.

Airtel operates in 14 African markets including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Uganda and Zambia. “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,” said Mandava.

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 its advisers.