Bharti Airtel plans Sh500 billion Africa unit IPO

Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s second-biggest wireless carrier, is preparing to kick off the initial public offering of its Africa unit in a deal that could raise about Sh100 billion ($1 billion), people familiar with the matter said.

Airtel Africa is planning to make a formal announcement about the London listing this month and aims to start trading in June, explained the source who requested not to be identified because the matter is private.

It’s considering seeking an equity valuation of about Sh500 billion ($5 billion), they said. The IPO could be one of the biggest in London this year.

The exchange’s lackluster domestic volumes are being boosted by emerging-market companies seeking a wider investor pool.

Finablr, the currency-exchange firm controlled by an Abu Dhabi-based billionaire, ill start taking orders for a share sale that could raise as much as Sh67.7 billion ($677 million).

Listing date

Middle Eastern payments processor Network International Holdings Plc raised 1.1 billion pounds (Sh140 billion) last month in the largest London IPO this year.

Valuation and the listing date are still under discussion, and final details could change depending on investor demand and market sentiment.

A representative for Bharti Airtel declined to comment.

Bharti Airtel, backed by billionaire Sunil Mittal, has spent heavily to defend its position in India against disruptive upstart Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.

The firm’s Africa unit raised Sh125 billion ($1.25 billion) last year from investors including Temasek Holdings Pte and SoftBank Group Corporation, giving it an equity value of about Sh440 billion ($4.4 billion).

The business has operations in 14 African markets including Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Ghana, according to Bharti Airtel’s annual report.

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