Airtel Malawi has given Malawians a Christmas gift by offering a total of 2.2 billion shares at a price of K12.69 per share on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE), allowing the public for the first time to own part of the telecommunications firm.
The company’s offer represents Malawi’s largest Initial Public Offer (IPO) in the history of MSE listing.
Unveiling a pre-listing statement yesterday in Lilongwe, Airtel Malawi managing director Charles Kamoto said this represents 20 percent stake in the business through an offer to sell 1.6 billion shares or 15 percent, and an over-allotment option of 550 million shares, representing five percent.
He said the offer will remain open until January 31 2020 before announcing the results of the offer to the public on February 14 2020 and thereafter officially listing on the local shares market on February 24.
Kamoto explained that application forms for shares will be available in the prospectus, which he said will be issued on December 27 2019 and will be uploaded on the company’s website. He said copies of the prospectus will also be available in receiving bank branches across the country.
He said: “Airtel’s journey in Malawi continues. Today, after just over 20 years of operating in the country, the people of Malawi will now not only know Airtel as their telecommunications company of choice, but also one that they also own a part of.”
He said the company’s main targeted shareholders are ordinary Malawians, adding that in an event that Malawians fail to buy all the shares then priority will be given to indigenous companies and pension funds, in that order.
Kamoto dispelled rumours that the listing was aimed at raising funds to recapitalise the business, but rather is as a result of the decision by some of the company’s majority shareholders whom he said have disposed of their equity.
“Through the years, Airtel has consistently invested in its infrastructure. The company has the widest 3G and 4G networks in the
country, with a network spanning more than 85 percent of the nation.
“Given the growing demand for data services driven by lifestyle changes and the increasing use of smartphones, Airtel expects that growth that has been experienced in the past to continue,” Kamoto said.
He further said the company’s success over the years has been supported by a committed employee base that is led by a management team with vast experience and capability to execute “inspirational projects”.
Airtel announced its intention to undertake an IPO by applying for admission of its ordinary shares to trade on the stock exchange on December 11 2019.
This listing will also enable the company to comply with Section 35 of the Communications Act of 2016, Regulation 26 (2) of the Communications (Telecommunications and Broadcasting Licensing) Regulations of 2016 and Clause 42.2 of the subsidiary’s operating licence, which requires the company to have at least 20 percent local Malawian shareholding.
Airtel Malawi has engaged Standard Bank plc to act as book runner and as lead transaction adviser for the company.