Airtel considering listing on Nigeria Bourse, plans London share sale

Nigeria’s unit of Bharti Airtel Ltd is considering listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) but after its Africa unit concludes a proposed Initial Public Offering (IPO) in London.
The continent second-biggest wireless carrier aimed to raise fund on the London Market to help reduce debt and strengthen its network.
The offer by the wireless carrier on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) would comprise new shares and the sale would seek a free float of at least 25 percent, the company said Tuesday in a filing.
JP Morgan Securities Plc is sole sponsor for the planned sale, according to the statement. BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and JP Morgan are joint global coordinators and bookrunners.
The business has operations in 14 African markets including Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana, according to Bharti Airtel’s latest annual report.
Bharti Airtel, backed by billionaire Sunil Mittal, has spent heavily to defend its position in India against disruptive upstart Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
The sale of shares to the public could raise about $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. The London listing could be this month and aims to start trading in June, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Airtel Africa Ltd. already raised $1.25 billion last year from investors including Temasek Holdings Pte and SoftBank Group Corp., giving it an equity value of about $4.4 billion.
The local unit of South African telecoms giant MTN Nigeria listed on the NSE last week by introduction with a free float of about 20 billion shares at 90 naira per share.
MTN Nigeria Plc has since obtained a 200 billion syndicated loan from 7 mostly local financial institutions to further boost its operations in the continent biggest economy.
Although details of the planned listing of Airtel is not clear as at the time of this report, the company will become the second telecoms firm to list on the local bourse when the plan materialise.


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