Airtel Africa weighs $1 billion London listing

The telecoms company is looking at a billion-pound listing on the London Stock Exchange, with the capital raised used in part to pay down its debts.

LSE London Stock Exchange Source: Bloomberg

Airtel Africa, a subsidiary of India-based telecoms group Bharti Airtel, announced on Tuesday that it is looking to list on the London Stock Exchange.

The telecoms company is hoping to raise more than $1 billion from its initial public offering (IPO), with part of the proceeds used to reduce the amount of debt on its balance sheet.

Airtel Africa IPO to support expansion efforts

The company has a strong presence in Africa, with it operating in 14 countries in the region including Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

Airtel Africa plans to use a portion of the funds raised from its upcoming IPO to help it expand its mobile and data service into more countries in Africa.

‘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,’ Bharti Airtel CEO Raghunath Mandava said.

‘These fast-growing markets provide us a great opportunity to grow both our telecom and payments businesses,’ he added.

Airtel Africa valued at over $5 billion

The telecoms operator has raised a significant amount of capital from various funding rounds, with the company securing $1.25 billion from six global investors last year, including SoftBank Group, Warburg Pincus and Temasek Holdings.

An additional $200 million was raised back in January from the Qatar Investment Authority, bringing Airtel Africa’s valuation to around $5 billion.

The recent string of capital raises has helped the telecoms company reduce the size of debt on its balance sheet from $7.7 billion last year to around $4 billion as of March 2019.

Airtel Africa plans to carry out a dual listing, with the operator also looking to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.


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