Airtel Uganda picks Absa Bank as IPO’s Transaction advisor

Airtel Uganda Chairman Karuhanga, flanked by MD Murali and Finance Director Mohan speak to the media on Wednesday in Kampala

KAMPALA, (UG): Telecom giants Airtel Uganda Wednesday announced Absa Bank Uganda Ltd as the Lead Transaction Advisor as it begins the process to be listed on the local bourse by the end of this year.

Airtel also appointed Crested Capital as the Lead Sponsoring broker in an announcement made by the parent company Airtel Africa on Wednesday.

Katende Ssempebwa and Company Advocates will be the Legal Advisor while consultancy firm Ernst & Young (EY) will play the role of the reporting accountant, according to details shared with the public.

The company has until December 16 to complete the process.

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“The offer is expected to result in a meaningful local ownership of Airtel Uganda Ltd with preference to be given to Ugandan investors and to contribute to the development of the capital markets in Uganda,” Airtel Africa said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Following approval of the Prospectus by the Ugandan Capital Markets Authority (CMA), the shares will be offered to retail investors via Airtel Money’s platform, in addition to traditional channels, in an effort to increase retail participation.”

Airtel Uganda is seeking to float 20 per cent (8 billion shares) of its shareholding to the public as part of a regulatory requirement to allow locals to have a share of the pie.

Subject to the approval of the Prospectus by the CMA, the offer will be effected by way of an offer for the sale of ordinary shares by Bharti Airtel Uganda Holdings B.V., a wholly subsidiary of Airtel Africa, who will receive all the proceeds of the offering, net of related expenses.

In 2019, the Ugandan government directed telecom operators in the country to list at least 20 per cent of their shares on the local bourse, the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) within two years in a move designed to encourage local ownership.

The policy shift put pressure on multinationals operating in Uganda such as MTN, Airtel and Lycamobile to sell shares to the public.

MTN Uganda was the first to go public in 2021 through an initial public offering (IPO) that attracted local and regional investors including Kenyan institutions.

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Last year (2022) Airtel Africa applied to the Uganda Communications Commission seeking an extension by one year to comply with the local ownership requirements of its Ugandan subsidiary.

Airtel Africa is a subsidiary of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd, with operations in 14 African countries.

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