Bharti Airtel mulls floating shares on African exchange
This may well be spurred by moves by South Africa-based, telco giant, MTN, to float its shares on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), to help offset huge local penalty debts.
Netherlands-based BAIN, which runs wireless and mobile money services in 14 countries across Africa, said in a regulatory filing it would initiate “non-binding exploratory discussions” with various banks and intermediaries to evaluate the feasibility of listing its shares on “an internationally recognised stock exchange.”
According to Mobile World Live, discussions were at a preliminary stage, and no final outcome had been decided. The value of the potential stake to be sold was undisclosed.
The news follows a number of reports in recent months questioning the future of Airtel’s operation in Africa. In December 2017, reports said Airtel was set to exit three markets deemed unprofitable: Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania. While he swiftly denied the rumours, Airtel Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal, admitted the company’s rushed entry into Africa in 2010, was one of the biggest regrets of his professional life.
The Guardian checks showed that in Nigeria, Airtel is still the third largest telecommunications firm with over 35 million customers, which is 25.3 per cent market share. In December, Airtel gained 911, 040 new Internet users, amounting to 23, 985.203 users against 23, 074 users in November 2017.
In its latest financial statement – covering the three months to end-December, Airtel reported a five per cent year-on-year increase in revenue for its Africa business to $783million.
Indeed, the performance of the African arm led by Nigeria, appeared to be on the upward swing, as the region reported a profit of $76million compared with a loss of $93million same period a year-ago.
These earnings were boosted by a surge in data traffic, and Airtel Money transactions. Airtel Africa had reported a $48million profit in July-September. Its revenues grew 5.3 per cent on-year to $783million.
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