Airtel Africa Plc will today begin trading on its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Airtel Africa will list its entire paid-up share capital on the NSE under a dual listing arrangement that provides additional window after the telco’s primary listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
The NSE yesterday confirmed that arrangements have been concluded for the admission of the shares of Airtel Africa to its official list today. The NSE has suspended the listing last Friday due to inability of Airtel Africa to meet some listing requirements in time for the listing. Airtel Africa subsequently confirmed at the weekend that it had complied with the outstanding listing requirements.
Many sources at the Exchange confirmed the listing arrangement. Airtel Africa has already credited allotted shares to the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc’s accounts of subscribers to its initial public offering (IPO)., one of the outstanding issues that stalled the listing last weekend.
Under the IPO, Airtel Africa allotted 39.23 million ordinary shares to qualified institutional investors and high net worth investors in Nigeria while 704.82 million shares were allotted to other global investors in various jurisdictions outside Nigeria. The shares will be listed at N363 per share. Airtel Africa will be listed on the main board of the Exchange with initial market capitalisation of N1.36 trillion.
Airtel Africa’s shares are expected to be activated on the live trading engine at the NSE in post-midday trading and investors may be able to trade for almost an hour on the shares of Africa’s second largest telco. The management of Airtel Africa will be honoured with a brief ceremony and the beating of the closing gong for the stock market by 2.30pm to commemorate the listing.
Airtel Africa’s Nigerian subsidiary, Airtel Networks Limited, second largest telecommunication company in Nigeria, accounts for more than one-thirds of the group’s turnover.
Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema, noted that Airtel Africa will be making history as the first telecom company to simultaneously list on both the LSE and NSE.
He said the listing on the Exchange reaffirms Airtel Africa’s long-term commitment to expanding opportunities for Nigerians in addition to providing everyday services to them.
“This listing serves to deepen the telecoms and technology sector for investors and provides an opportunity for a wider group of Nigerians to be part of the African telecoms growth story. This listing is a promising development in Africa with Airtel Africa being the second company to have its ordinary shares listed on both the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange,” Onyema said.
He pointed out that the dual listing gives credence to the successful partnership between the LSE and NSE urging similarly situated companies to explore the different opportunities for raising capital on the NSE’s platform.
“Airtel Africa’s listing on the NSE will not only showcase the company as an established player in the African telecommunication industry, but will enable the firm to actualize its strategic vision “To enrich the lives of customers”,” Onyema said.
He assured that the NSE will continue to support the telecom industry and the real sector by promoting efficient capital formation and allocation, enabling industries to raise long-term funds for growth and expansion of their business to reduce unemployment and sustain Nigeria’s economic growth and development.
Airtel Africa will be trailing its closest rival, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, as the third largest quoted company. MTN Nigeria, the largest telco, was listed in May 2019 with a market capitalisation of N1.83 trillion, making it the second largest quoted company after Dangote Cement Plc.
The listing of MTN Nigeria had triggered a massive rally that market capitalisation of Nigerian equities to a gain of N2.726 trillion in May 2019, one of the two positive months for the Nigerian stock market so far this year.
Market analysts also expected a reasonable enthusiasm for Airtel Africa on debut at the NSE but the wider distribution of its shares due to the IPO may moderate the pricing trend compared with MTN Nigeria’s pricing upsurge. MTN Nigeria had sustained a day-on-day maximum allowable gain for many days, setting off a major debate about the propriety of the pricing mechanism. However, the NSE affirmed that the pricing mechanism was in line with established market forces.
Airtel Africa’s debut trading on the LSE was however weak, dropping by as much as 16 per cent during the first trading session.