Airtel Seeks USD 1 Bn With London Listing Of African Subsidiary
The telecoms company which is Africa’s second-largest mobile operator is aiming to raise about USD 1 Bn in a June equity offering, a source conversant with the matter disclosed to Reuters.
Airtel currently operates in 14 African markets, including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Uganda and Zambia.
‘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 adding that the expanding markets are giving Airtel the opportunity to grow its Telecom.
This move comes hardly a year since the telecoms operator secured USD 1.25 Bn from six global investors last year, including SoftBank Group, Warburg Pincus and Temasek Holdings. They further raised USD 200 Mn early this year from Qatar Investment Authority.
The recent cash injections have helped Airtel reduce net debt to USD 4 Bn from USD 7.7 Bn.
The telecoms company intends to carry out a dual listing as it intends to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as well. It stated in a filing made to the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
Africa has proven to be a redeeming feature for the company which is fighting a price war in India with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. Bharti Airtel’s Africa operations posted a net profit of USD 83 Mn in the March quarter from a loss of USD 49 Mn the previous year.
The company entered the African market in June 2010 after successfully purchasing Zain’s operations in 15 countries for USD 10.7 Bn.
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