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Airtel Africa set for London Stock Exchange

IPO: Airtel Africa is set to list shares on the London Stock Exchange

AFRICA’S SECOND-LARGEST mobile operator is set to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange.

Airtel Africa, a subsidiary of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd has announced plans to file for a London IPO.

The company has set its sights on raising $750 million through the listing of at least 25 per cent of its shares.

The move has been driven by a bid to reduce the group’s debt, which has risen to more than $16 billion.

Reuters reported that Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, said a successful IPO would enable the company to kickstart a “stronger growth phase”.

The telecommunications and mobile money business operates in 14 countries across Africa, primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa. It boasts 98.9 million subscribers and 14.2 million mobile money customers.

In October it raised $1.25 billion in a round of pre-IPO funding, and in January it raised a further $200 million.

In a statement, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Airtel Africa said: “With the recent equity investments into the business by globally recognised long-term investors, we believe that Airtel Africa is in a strong position to build its own capital market profile, allowing others to join us in a real business success story. The new board of directors is committed to carry forward the strong legacy of corporate governance of the parent company.”

Mandava said the announcement represents “an exciting next step of our journey and is a result of the commitment to a focused execution of the strategy by our employees”.

In addition to the London listing, Airtel Africa is also considering a listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, one of the largest on the continent.

Nigeria is home to 37 per cent of Airtel Africa’s subscriber base, making it the company’s largest single country.

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