Wireless tower operator files for US listing, which could be Africa’s biggest IPO

Wireless tower operator files for US listing, which could be Africa’s biggest IPO

2021-09-17 11:30:00 AM

Wireless tower operator files for US listing, which could be Africa’s biggest IPO

IHS Towers, of which MTN holds a 29% stake, has filed papers for what may deliver Africa’s biggest IPO in history

Karl GernetzkyPicture: BLOOMBERG/SUSANA GONZALEZWireless towers operator IHS Holding, of which MTN holds a 29% stake, has filed for a US listing, which could potentially be the biggest ever for an African firm in that country. IHS is eyeing a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, but the timing, number of shares to be offered and price range of the proposed offering have not yet been determined, Africa’s largest mobile operator said in a statement on Friday.

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At of the end of June, the fair value of the group’s 29% investment in IHS was valued at R30.5bn, up from R27.2bn at the end of December 2020, and from R27bn at the end of 2019.The launch of the offering is subject to the necessary regulatory approvals, governance approvals and conducive market conditions, the group said, with the filing of papers a registration document.

In early 2020, Bloombergreported that IHS Holding had selected Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase & Co as global co-ordinators for a listing that could value Africa’s largest operator of wireless towers at as much as $7bn (R102bn).At that size, it would be the largest IPO in the US by an African company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. headtopics.com

MTN had been looking to offload its stake, however this has faced delays, with the group saying in its 2021 half-year results there was “good progress being made to realise value in our stake in IHS in the near term.”IHS has more than 30,000 towers across nine countries in Latin America, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, a footprint of about 600-million people, according to information on its website.

In its half-year to end-June, IHS reported a 15% rise in revenue to $763m, while operating profit had more than doubled to $253.9m.In morning trade on Friday MTN’s shares were up 2.08% to R126.99, while peer Vodacom was up 0.85% to R137.35. Read more: Business Day »

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