Ugandan IPOs: now it’s Airtel’s turn

Ugandan IPOs: now it’s Airtel’s turn

Airtel Uganda is the latest Ugandan operator to announce plans for a stock exchange listing.

The number two operator in the country is part of pan-African group Airtel Africa and a unit of India's Bharti Airtel. It plans to list part of its equity by the end of 2022, according to one of its officials interviewed on Monday on NTV Uganda a free-to-air channel and a subsidiary of Nation Media Group.

Details are, at the moment, sketchy but, according to Reuters, Airtel Uganda MD Manoj Murali said to NTV: "We will be listing in Uganda stock exchange most probably by December of 2022."

The listing is not an entirely independent decision. When the company renewed its operating licence in 2020, one of the conditions for awarding the new licence was that Airtel Uganda would list at least 20% of equity on the Ugandan stock exchange.

This didn’t just apply to Airtel. Local rival and leading operator in terms of subscribers MTN Uganda listed shares on the Uganda Stock Exchange in December as a condition of its new licence.

However, as we reported, what was described at the time as “the largest initial public offering in Uganda’s history” was undersubscribed. MTN had hope to attract 4.5 billion shares with the offer but achieved subscriptions of less than two-thirds of this target.

MTN Uganda has close to 16 million subscribers, according to recent estimates. Airtel Uganda has about 10 million subscribers. The country’s population is just under 46 million including over 29 million mobile phone subscribers.