Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) says Airtel Malawi listing presents a rare investment opportunity in the telecommunications sectors.
Airtel is offering 2.2 billion shares at 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, which 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.
In an interview during a pre-listing cocktail held at Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre on Wednesday, where notable industry captains attended, RBM Governor Dalitso Kabambe said the listing would bring a number of advantages to the company as well as Malawi’s capital market.
“We are delighted with the listing of Airtel Malawi as it will accord many Malawians an opportunity to invest in this business and become part owners of this company. Airtel will also benefit from greater customer loyalty as customers will be part owners of the business,” he said.
On his part, Airtel Malawi managing director Charles Kamoto dispelled rumours that the listing was aimed at raising funds to recapitalise the business which is financially struggling and has huge debts.
“We are a leading telecoms company with a 54 percent market share and being in an industry which is growing fast, this means our growth prospects are very high. We have invested a lot in data which is the future of our business, fiber, and high speed internet, all this presents high growth prospects,” he said.
Minority Shareholders Association secretary general Frank Harawa described the listing as a milestone for the stock market.
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.