Lagos – After last week’s suspension of listing on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Airtel Africa finally listed on Tuesday in a N1.36 trillion ($4.4 billion) floatation, turning the telecom company into the bourse’s third largest stock by market value.
Airtel Africa’s shares climbed 10% from their listing price of N363 after the float went live. Some 100,000 shares traded at Tuesday’s debut, helping the main stock index recover from a seven-week low.
The company, owned 68.3% by India’s Bharti Airtel, offered shares in its African unit two weeks ago via a London IPO and said it would dual-list in Nigeria, its biggest market in Africa.
Airtel Africa, which operates across 14 African countries, had planned to list last week but the bourse postponed the cross-border listing to allow the telecoms firm to meet its listing requirements.
Airtel’s listing comes after main rival, South Africa’s MTN, listed its Nigerian unit in Lagos in May in a $6.5 billion floatation that made it the second-largest stock on the bourse by market value.
It also became the second company to list in London and Lagos following an IPO by oil firm Seplat.
Airtel Africa’s existing shareholders include Singapore’s Temasek, Japan’s SoftBank, Singtel, and U.S. investment firm, Warburg Pincus.
The local bourse has said Airtel shares registered in Britain may be moved from the London market to Nigeria subject to approval by the custodians in London and foreign exchange rules in Nigeria.
But Airtel shares registered in Nigeria cannot be moved to London, it said.
The listing of its Africa subsidiary on the London Stock Exchange, according to sources, was aimed at raising money to reduce its debt.
Bharti Airtel had announced the plans to take its Africa subsidiary public in February last year, and in October it completed an initial round of pre-IPO funding of $1.25 billion by issuing 841,908,798 shares to entities affiliated with the Warburg Pincus Parties, Temasek Holdings Private Limited, Singapore Telecommunications Limited, and SoftBank Group International.
Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the state of Qatar, said in January it would invest $200 million in the African arm.
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