Airtel Africa awaits regulatory approval for London Stock Exchange listing

The telecom firm may raise $1 billion through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange
Airtel Africa eyes London stock market listing
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY OTTO BAKANO A sign advertises an ‘Airtel’ product in a shop on May 20, 2011 in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. India will seek to expand its economic footprint in Africa, where its rival China has made major inroads, at the second India-Africa summit next week in Addis Ababa. India’s Bharti Airtel — the world’s fifth largest mobile phone company — acquired the 16-African country unit of Kuwaiti telecom firm, Zain at a cost of $10.7 billion in 2010 when India’s imports from Africa were worth $20.7 billion and its exports stood at $10.3 the same year even though China’s trade with Africa remains far heftier. AFP PHOTO/Tony KARUMBA (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

Airtel Africa has submitted registration documents to the UK Financial Conduct Authority to list shares on the London Stock Exchange.

The documents, if approved, will allow Airtel Africa to list equity shares on London Stock Exchange in a bid to reduce its existing debts.

The telecom firm, a subsidiary of Indian telecoms group, Bharti Airtel Ltd, may raise $1 billion through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, offering 25% of its shares.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Airtel Africa, while commenting on the planned listing, says 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. Today, Airtel Africa is the second largest mobile operator in Africa,” Mittal adds.

With the recent equity investments into the business by globally recognised long-term investors, we believe that Airtel Africa is in a strong position to build its own capital market profile, allowing others to join us in a real business success story”.

Last year, Airtel Africa Ltd, a subsidiary of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd, appointed eight banks for an intended Initial Public offering  (IPO) on an international stock exchange.

The global banks are JP Morgan, Citigroup Inc, BofA Merrill Lynch, Absa Group Limited, Barclays BankPlc, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs International, and Standard Bank Group Ltd.

In a statement released late October, the telecom firm said the initial pubic offering will be used to further reduce its $5 billion existing debt and grow the continent’s market.

Airtel currently operates across 14 African countries with Nigeria as its largest market.


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