Airtel Refutes News, Says Africa IPO On Schedule

Bharti Airtel today said its plan to go for public listing is very much on schedule and is not delayed. The company said this reacting a to an earlier news report that said the firm has delayed its Africa IPO.

“We would like to categorically state that Airtel Africa IPO preparations are proceeding as per plan and there is no change in plans,” said the company in a late afternoon statement on Monday.

Earlier in the day Bloomberg carried a report that claimed, citing sources, that Bharti Airtel is planning to deploy the Africa IPO by another six months or so.

“The company, which was originally aiming to list the unit in London by March, has pushed back the share sale by about half a year, according to the people. It plans to seek an enterprise value of about $8 billion for the Africa business, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private,” the Bloomberg report said.

Airtel, however, refuted the news.

“New board is in place with new investor’s representatives and we remain very confident about the IPO process,” Airtel added in the statement.

Last week the operator had announced that six global investors are pumping in $1.25 billion to help the operator prepare for its Africa IPO.

Bharti Airtel’s Africa business or Airtel Africa is planning to raise $1.25 billion from six global investors including SoftBank, Singtel, Temasek and Warburg Pincus to reduce debt and prepare the company for its planned IPO.

“The proceeds will be used to reduce Airtel Africa’s existing debt of approx. USD 5 billion and for growth of its African operations,” the Group company said in a statement. It also added that “Airtel Africa subsequently intends an Initial Public Offering and use the proceeds primarily for further reduction of debt.”

Airtel said the funds will be raised through a primary equity issuance in the company at a post money equity value of ~ USD 4.4 billion. Airtel Africa has seen a turnaround of its business in recent years. This investment demonstrates the confidence of leading global investors in the company’s ongoing robust growth and profitability. The investment also reinforces the increased growth potential of the Africa telecommunications sector.

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