Airtel sell 25% of its African unit

07 May 2018

India's Bharti Airtel reportedly plans to raise up to $1.5 billion through a public listing of Bharti Airtel International, the holding company for its African operations.

The operator plans to dilute a 25% stake into the holding company for roughly $1 billion to $1.5 billion, sources told India's Economic Times.

The public listing is expected to take place in early 2019, the sources said. At the upper end of the estimate, Bharti Airtel International would be valued at $6 billion.

Netherlands-registered Bharti Airtel International is the holding company of Airtel's operations in 14 African markets - Nigeria, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Kenya, Malawi, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda.

Airtel's African operations have finally started making profits seven years after Airtel entered the African market with the $9 billion acquisition of Kuwait-based Zain's African assets. The African operations reported their first full year of profit for the financial year of around 18.27 billion rupees ($273.4 million).

A global listing for Bharti Airtel International is expected to help the parent company get better value for its African operations, deleverage its balance sheet, and help it raise funds to invest in its core Indian mobile business to help it better compete in a tight market.

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