Bharti Airtel’s Africa arm to go for IPO; to be listed on London Stock Exchange

India’s second largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Tuesday said it is planning an IPO for its Africa subsidiary. The company will be listed on the London Stock Exchange, Sunil Mittal-led telco said in a BSE filing. The Airtel Africa Limited has submitted a registration document to the UK Financial Conduct Authority for approvals, it added. The company had revealed its plan for IPO early in 2018. Bharti Airtel is currently operational in 15 African countries and the proceeds from the initial public offering are expected to be deployed in reducing debts.

Airtel Africa has over 9.9 crore users spread across three regions—Nigeria; East Africa, and the rest of Africa, with Nigeria being its most profitable market as it generates half of the company’s EBITDA and 40% of its total revenue. Airtel had ventured with its telecom business in Africa about nine years ago. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Airtel Africa said that the company is in a “strong position” to build its own capital market profile, news agency PTI reported. Airtel Africa is the second largest operator in Africa, the company chairman said.  

Airtel Africa went ahead with several mergers and acquisitions post its entry in Africa. The company acquired Zain Africa in June 2010. In 2013, Airtel acquired the Uganda business of Warid. The telco then merged its Ghana operations with Millicom International Cellular in March of 2017 to create the country’s second largest telecom operator. Millicom Cellular operates under the name Tigo. Both Airtel Africa and Millicom share an equal stake in the merged entity.

Recently, Bharti Airtel had also released its quarterly results and maintained the second largest user base in India with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio trailing. Reliance Jio is still 2 crore users short to overtake Bharti Airtel, according to TRAI’s latest Telecom Subscription Data report. In its results for the Jan-Mar quarter, the company has posted a net profit in its revenues.

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