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Airtel Africa to raise $750m with London IPO

London Stock Exchange .jpeg

Bharti Airtel subsidiary Airtel Africa plans to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in London, in an attempt to raise $750 million.

The company said it would float a minimum of 25% of its shares in an attempt to pay down its debts with a further 15% to be made available under an overallotment option. Additionally, after the IPO the company also intends on listing on premium segment of the London Stock Exchange.

"The offer is targeted to raise $750 million (plus primary green shoe option of up to 15%) and will be used to reduce net debt," Bharti Airtel said in a regulatory filing.

An exact number of shares and their price range have yet to be given, but according to the company these details will follow “in due course” following publication of a prospectus and a book-building process. Airtel Africa is also considering a stock listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

JPMorgan has been named as sponsor of the IPO. BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and JPMorgan will act as joint global co-ordinators and joint bookrunners while Absa Group, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and The Standard Bank of South Africa, will act as joint bookrunners.

Back in November 2018, Bharti Airtel completed a pre-IPO issue of more than 25% of its stake in Airtel Africa to six investors, including the likes of Singtel and SoftBank Group. According to a regulatory filing with the BSE, Bharti Airtel has reduced its stake in the African unit from an estimated 92-93% to around 65%. Airtel Africa manages operations in 14 countries on the continent.

At the start of the year, Bharti Airtel was reportedly in talks to buy Telkom Kenya, as it looks to challenge market leader Safaricom.

According to Reuters, the Indian telecoms operator, which currently runs Kenya’s second-biggest telco, is looking at buying out a 60% share in Telkom owned by Helios Investment.

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