Airtel Africa To Extend Its Services To London Stock Market Listing, Aims to Raise $1 Billion

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Airtel Africa, a subsidiary of Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel, is estimating a stock market flotation in London, it stated on Tuesday, part of aims to extend its data also mobile money services beyond Africa.

The organisation is attempting to gather about $1 billion in a June investment offering, a source close to the deal stated. Airtel operates in 14 African markets including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Uganda and Zambia.

Last year, the telecom operant allocated $1.25 billion from six global investors including SoftBank Group, Warburg Pincus, and Temasek Holdings (Private).

An additional $200 million was allocated in January from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), valuing the organisation just under $5 billion.

Airtel Africa is appearing 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 and sells 25 per cent of new shares to reduce existing debt.

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 revenue reached $83 million in the year to March, matched to a net loss of $49 million a year earlier.

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The telecoms operator is also seeking to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

“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,” chief executive Raghunath Mandava said in a statement.

“These fast-growing markets provide us with a great opportunity to grow both our telecom and payments businesses.”

Indian owner Bharti Airtel last year ditched the IPO of African mobile phone mast firm Helios Towers, without giving any reason.

A source said at the time that the expected IPO price was too low for shareholders who had been valuing the firm at as much as $2.8 billion.

Proceeds from the European IPO market have fallen to their lowest in more than a decade in the first three months of 2019, according to Reliable data.

Airtel Africa’s presentation on the London market would follow that of Middle Eastern payments companies Finablr and Network International, which started trading over the past couple of months.

The company has appointed JP Morgan, Citigroup, BofA Merrill Lynch, Absa Group Limited, Barclays Bank, HSBC, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs International and Standard Bank Group as advisers.