Airtel Africa to list shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange

The company currently is the second-largest mobile operator in Africa.

Credit : The Africa Report

- Aishwarya Dakhore

The secondary listing of Airtel Africa shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange will now be listed on Tuesday. This $4.4 billion listing, that was scheduled last week on Friday, got postponed to Tuesday in order for the company to meet its listing requirements. A source from Reuters also reported that the delay was due to manual allotment process of transferring the shares to new investors.

Airtel Africa, which is the subsidiary of telecom operator Bharti Airtel, expects to raise at least $750 million (around ₹5,189 crore) through an initial public offering as announced by it earlier. It had offered shares in its African unit via a London IPO last week and had then announced that it would also dual list in Nigeria, which happens to be its biggest market in Africa. The local bourse told Reuters that Airtel shares registered in Britain may be moved from the London market to Nigeria subject to approval by the custodians in London and currency regulation in Nigeria. However, Airtel shares registered in Nigeria cannot be moved to London.

The company's progress history shows that last year it had raised $1.25 billion from six investors including Temasek Holdings Pte, SoftBank Group Corp and Warburg Pincus, giving it an equity value of about $4.4 billion. On the other hand, Nigerian stocks have been compressed over low growth in Africa’s biggest economy. The president’s failure to appoint a cabinet four months after winning a second term has further hindered the growth of the stock condition in Nigeria. Local stocks have fallen 6.8% this year and shed 17.8% last year.

Nigeria’s bourse postponed the cross-border listing of 3.76 billion shares of Airtel Africa but allowed Airtel to go ahead with an investor presentation. It told Reuters that it would inform the market on when the conditions had been met. Airtel set its Nigerian listing price at 363 nairas per share, the bourse told the Reuters earlier, via a book building process which valued the company at 1.364 trillion nairas ($4.44 billion). In May, Africa’s biggest telecoms firm MTN listed its Nigerian unit in Lagos in a $6.5 billion float that made it the second-largest stock on the bourse by market value.

Airtel Africa recently reported a profit of $412 million for the full year 2018-19 and its revenue increased 5.73 percent to $3,077 million from $2,910 million in 2017-18. The company currently offers telecom services in 14 countries in Africa and is the second-largest mobile operator in Africa by the number of active subscribers, as of December 2018.

Aishwarya Dakhore is an Intern with Indie Journal.