Airtel Africa plans to raise up to $750 million in gross proceeds through an IPO on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, media reports said. The African mobile operator intends to float at least 25 percent of its shares as it tries to pay down debt. Airtel Africa will make a further 15 percent available through an overallotment option.
Airtel Africa is also considering listing its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as well. The exact number of shares to be sold and the indicative price range of the offer will be decided in due course, the company added.
After it is admitted to trading on the LSE premium market, the African mobile operator owned by Bharti Airtel of India will net debt to ebitda ratio of 2.5. Ahead of its London IPO, Airtel Africa had raised $1.25 billion in pre-IPO funding in October last year in addition to another $200 million in January.
In the March quarter of the year, Bharti Airtel’s Africa unit said that it had posted a net profit of $83 million compared to a loss of $49 million a year earlier.
Africa offers a ray of hope for Bharti Airtel with its India business struggling.
Total revenue at Airtel Africa grew 6 percent year-on-year from $736 million to $781 million in the March quarter. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased 12 percent year-on-year from $307 million to $344 million in the March quarter.
Airtel Africa saw its data customers grow to 30 million in the March quarter from 5.1 million in the year before. Its revenue from data services grew 30 percent year-on-year to $192 million. Transaction value on the Airtel Money platform rose 22 percent to $6.8 billion.
Airtel Africa is the holding company for Bharti Airtel’s operations in 14 countries in the continent. It covers 99 million users across three regions: Nigeria; East Africa, comprisingTanzania, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia; and the rest of Africa, comprisingCongo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger, Gabon, Chad, Madagascar, and Seychelles.
Nigeria accounts for half of Airtel Africa’s ebitda and 40 percent of revenue.