Airtel Africa to distribute 80% of cash flow as dividend to shareholders
• Says Postponed Listing Will Help Meet Post NSE Approval Pre-Requisites
Ahead of its secondary listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Airtel Africa Plc. has unveiled plans to distribute 80 percent of its free cash flow as dividend to shareholders, even as the firm announced the postponement of the much-expected shares listing slated for yesterday.
The postponed cross border secondary listing of 3,758,151,504 ordinary shares of Airtel Africa Plc. on the NSE is coming after its London Stock Exchange (LSE) primarily listing at an offer price of 80 pence per ordinary share.
A secondary listing is when securities already listed on a primary exchange are subsequently listed on other securities exchanges, with the issuer not subjected to the full requirements applicable to listing on the other securities exchange(s) at which it seeks a secondary listing. According to the company, it plans to distribute to shareholders, a minimum of 80 percent of consolidated free cash flow as long as a ratio of net debt to EBITDA between 2 to 2.5 times is maintained.
The telecoms giant said the postponed listing on nation’s bourse was to ensure that the company meets all the post NSE approval pre-requisites for listing on the exchange. At the company’s facts before listing held in Lagos at the weekend, Managing Director, Segun Ogunsanya said the listing would be done in the next few days after fulfilling regulatory requirements.
Subsequently, shares of Airtel Africa would be listed at N363 per share, adding a total of N1.364 trillion to the market capitalisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Ogunsanya added that the company plans to leverage on data, voice and mobile money penetration to grow its earnings.
Chief Executive Officer of the NSE, Oscar Onyema said the shares of the company is expected to be listed on the main board of the NSE making Airtel Africa the first telecom company to simultaneously list on both exchanges. According to him, this listing serves to deepen the telecoms and technology sector for investors and provides an opportunity for a wider group of Nigerians to be part of the African telecoms growth story.
Recall that NSE had recently granted a waiver to Airtel Africa to list its shares on the exchange without meeting the minimum requirement of 300 shareholders as of the day the listing was approved by the national council of the NSE.
In an interactive session with journalists, Head, Listing Regulation of the NSE, Godstime Iwenekhai said after the book building by the company, about 130 shareholders subscribed to issue, which is below the 300 shareholders requirement of the exchange. However, he said the firm has a free float of 25 percent across the London stock exchange and the NSE, above the exchange requirement of 10 per cent for cross boarder listing.
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