Bharti Airtel has submitted a formal application to the London Stock Exchange for an IPO of its operations in Africa.
The primary listing is under the aegis of the National Stock Exchange of India, which has confirmed that UK authorities are currently reviewing the application. Bharti Airtel may additionally file for a secondary listing of Airtel Africa on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and will pay down its debt using the generated funds. According to Reuters, this sum could surpass $1 billion.
Airtel Africa provides mobile services across 14 African countries and additionally operates a mobile money service in all of these markets. This separate subsidiary has partnerships with a number of financial institutions and operators to deliver services in some markets, but Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal has stated that it could easily “build its own capital market profile”.
A listing of Airtel Africa has been on the cards since last year, when Bharti Airtel first announced this ambition. It has since reiterated this goal, while Airtel Africa itself last year brought in $1.25 billion in funding from a total of six investors in a bid to reduce its debt, which totals around $5 billion. It has continued its efforts this year, bringing in $200 million from the Qatar Investment Authority.