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Airtel Nigeria's listing gives company's strategy a boost

Airtel Nigeria's listing gives company's strategy a boost

Company's London and Nigeria listing aimed at raising US$750-million to solidify company's market position.

Telecoms giant Airtel Africa has listed shares of its Nigerian subsidiary on the local bourse, confirmed by Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The listing is Nigeria's third largest after the Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) of Dangote Cement and MTN Nigeria.

Airtel Africa said the listing will enable it to raise funds to finance strategic operations and further reduce its debt.

Announcing the IPO, the NSE said a total of 3,758,151,504 shares sold at 363 naira (USD0.9896) per share are being traded on the stock exchange, establishing Airtel Nigeria's market capitalisation at US$3,719,066,728.

The Nigerian listing follows Airtel Africa's lackluster listing on the London Stock Exchange in June 2019 with its shares opening well below the issue price of 80 pence a share, the bottom-end of the indicative price range.

The listings in London and in Nigeria are aimed at raising about US$750-million that will be used to pare debt and free up cash in order to better position Bharti Airtel in India's highly competitive market.

In a statement released to the media, Airtel Africa chairman Sunil Mittal said: "Since first investing in Africa almost nine years ago, we have leveraged our expertise in emerging markets to deliver on a clearly defined strategy to build Airtel Africa into a market-leading mobile service provider, increasingly expanding beyond voice into data services and Airtel Money."

Chief executive officer Raghunath Mandava added that the successful Nigerian listing makes the operator the first telco to "simultaneously list on the premium segment of the London and Nigerian stock exchanges through an IPO".

Airtel has a successful record in Nigeria, which the company described as its most profitable African market- out of its 14 subsidiaries.

During the fiscal year which ended in March 2019, Nigeria boosted Airtel Africa's growth, contributing US$1,106,000,000 or 35.9% to the company's revenue total of US$3,077,000,000. This was up 11% on 2018's figures.

Airtel Nigeria is also Airtel's largest subscriber base in Africa with nearly 38 million consumers, accounting for 37.6% of Airtel Africa's 99.8 million customers.

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