Airtel Africa Moves Closer to IPO, Appoints 8-man Board of Directors

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Global telecoms giant, Bharti Airtel continues to fine tune its plans for its African subsidiary, Airtel Africa’s IPO, as it has just appointed a set of new Board of Directors as a prerequisite for the process.

The appointment follows its recent issuance of primary equity worth $1.25 billion to six global investors. The investors include, Warburg Pincus, Temasek, Singtel and SoftBank Group International. This is the first part of a two-stage fund raising exercise aimed at paring its over $15 billion consolidated debt. As such the new board of Directors consists of representatives from Airtel and the investors.

The Board of Directors includes – Sunil Bharti Mittal, Raghunath Mandava, Akhil Gupta, Vishal Mahadevia, Alok Sama, Arthur Lang, Shravin Bharti Mittal and Richard Gubbins.

“The newly constituted Board together brings extensive experience across industry verticals including – Telecom & ICT, financial markets as well as in technology, software development and consultancy. Additionally, the combined strength of the Board of Directors also brings wealth of industry and governance experience to further drive Airtel Africa business,” the company said in a statement.

A Quick Flashback

Currently operating in 14 African countries, the company began considering the IPO in mid-February. The IPO however, is not a major one as it is looking to sell only a minority stake in its Africa holdings as a way to shore up its revenue base. As such it’s owners are not looking to give up control of the company and would still be controlling around 72 per cent of the stake.

The telecom company has not had it good on the African continent in the last 3 years. Still, its fortunes turned the corner positively in recent times, thanks to a surge in data traffic and increase in its Airtel Money business. According to it’s quarterly report ending September 2018, it revenues grew by 10.8% Y-o-Y. As such, Africa remains a very good prospect for the telco, ranking among the top two operators in all the market it operates (with Nigeria being second largest telco with a market share of 26%).

This update also serves as an assurance to the telco as it expects to list its African subsidiary “as soon as markets are more stable.”


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