Bharti Airtel appoints eight bankers for Africa operations planned IPO

Bharti Airtel
A girl checks her mobile phone as she walks past the Bharti Airtel office building in Gurugram, previously known as Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd said it has appointed eight global banks for the planned initial public offering (IPO) of its African unit, Airtel Africa Ltd, a subsidiary of the Indian telecom giant, has appointed J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, BofA Merrill Lynch, Absa Group Limited, Barclays Bank PLC, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs International and Standard Bank Group for its IPO, it said in an exchange filing.

Bharti Airtel shares jumped as much as 3.14% intraday to Rs 338.25 per share following the announcement.

The proposed IPO of the African unit follows a $1.25 billion fund raise by Airtel Africa, led by Warburg Pincus, Temasek, Singtel, SoftBank Group International and others.

Earlier this month, Airtel Africa also announced its newly-constituted board of directors that includes representatives from Bharti Airtel and the investors. “The new Board of Directors brings a wealth of industry and governance experience to further drive the Airtel Africa business,” the telecom operator said in the filing.

Airtel Africa is a pan-African telecommunications company with operations in 14 countries across Africa.

The proposed offering hit a roadblock earlier this month when the Tanzanian government not only disapproved the IPO, but also claimed that the government owns the Tanzanian unit.

Airtel Africa’s revenues grew 10.8% year-on-year,led by a growth in data and Airtel money, the financing arm of the operator. It reported the same in the second quarter ended 30 September 2018. The Company also witnessed an improvement of EBITDA margin by 3.9% Y-o-Y to 37.1%.

Mobile data traffic expanded 53% to 89 billion megabits year-on-year. While data customer base increased by 32.1% to 27.1 million, Airtel Money customer base increased to 12.9 million, boosting the total transaction value on Airtel Money platform by 31% to $ 6.3 billion, the filing added.

The Indian unit’s revenues fell 3.6% Y-o-Y, continuing its downward spiral after Reliance Jio’s entry in late 2016.

This article was first published on livemint.com