Airtel Africa constitutes board for planned IPO
Airtel Africa has constituted an eight-member board ahead of its IPO that is expected to take place in London.
Airtel Africa said the board was made up representatives from parent and global investors: Sunil Bharti Mittal, Raghunath Mandava, Akhil Gupta, Vishal Mahadevia, Alok Sama, Arthur Lang, Shravin Bharti Mittal and Richard Gubbins.
“The formation of the company board follows successful primary equity issuance of $1.25bn to six leading global investors comprising Warburg Pincus, Temasek, Singtel, SoftBank Group International and others ahead of an intended IPO on an international stock exchange,” Airtel Africa said, in a release on Friday.
According to the Economic Times of India, the listing of the company’s shares is likely to take place latest June 2019.
Analysts, however, said the delay was due to market volatility in some global equity markets, which had delayed offers by others.
The two-stage fund-raising exercise is aimed at reducing the telco’s consolidated debt of $15bn and grow its operations in Nigeria and other African countries.
In a separate BSE filing, Bharti Airtel confirmed the “receipt of full issue proceeds and completion of the said primary equity issuance to leading global investors by Airtel Africa.”
After the pre-IPO issue, Bharti Airtel’s stake in its Africa unit will dip to around 72 per cent, according to brokerage CLSA.
“Airtel Africa is likely to take a call on the IPO timing once markets are more stable,” Fitch Director of Corporates, Nitin Soni, said.
Airtel Africa though has said that the IPO plans are on track.
Airtel Nigeria is the second largest telco with a market share of 26 per cent, according to the September monthly subscribers report collated by the Nigerian Communication Commission, while MTN maintains the lead in Nigeria with 40 per cent market share.
Airtel Nigeria started the upgrade of its network to 4G this year.
The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, said the 4G network was available in 60 Nigerian cities at the launch of the upgraded network in Lagos recently.
“Airtel’s 4G network is now in over 60 major cities and towns in Nigeria across different states, making Airtel the network with the widest and largest 4G coverage in the country,” Ogunsanya said.
The Airtel CEO also noted that the Airtel 4G launch in Lagos “serves as a glowing testimony of our commitment to partner and empower the good people of Lagos, a truly cosmopolitan state where dreams come true.”