July 9, 2019 / 7:59 PM / 2 months ago

Airtel Africa debuts in Lagos in $4.4 billion listing

LAGOS (Reuters) - Airtel Africa (AAF.L) listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Tuesday in a 1.36 trillion naira ($4.4 bln) flotation turning the telecoms company into the bourse’s third-largest stock by market value.

Airtel Africa's shares climbed 10% from their listing price of 363 naira after the float went live. Some 100,000 shares traded at Tuesday's debut, helping the main stock index .NGSEINDEX recover from a seven-week low.

The company, owned 68.3% by India’s Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS), offered shares in its African unit two weeks ago via a London IPO and said it would dual list in Nigeria, its biggest market in Africa.

Airtel Africa, which operates across 14 African countries, had planned to list last week but the bourse postponed the cross-border listing to allow the telecoms firm to meet its listing requirements.

Airtel’s listing comes after main rival, South Africa’s MTN (MTNJ.J), listed its Nigerian unit (MTNN.LG) in Lagos in May in a $6.5 billion float that made it the second-largest stock on the bourse by market value.

It also becomes the second company to list in London and Lagos following an IPO by oil firm Seplat (SEPLAT.LG)(SEPL.L).

Airtel Africa’s existing shareholders include Singapore’s Temasek [TEM.UL], Japan’s SoftBank (9434.T), Singtel and U.S. investment firm Warburg Pincus.

The local bourse has said Airtel shares registered in Britain may be moved from the London market to Nigeria subject to approval by the custodians in London and foreign exchange rules in Nigeria. But Airtel shares registered in Nigeria cannot be moved to London, it said.

Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Catherine Evans and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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