Airtel Africa is set to reduce its debt by injecting USD 1.25 billion in investment from six international investors and expand its African operations ahead of a proposed IPO.
The second largest operator on the continent has businesses in 15 African countries: Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The investment came from six sources, including United States private equity investor Warburg Pincus, Japanese corporation Softbank, Singapore’s state investment company Temasek – which invested USD 250 million, Temasek-owned Singaporean communications company Singtel and two more unnamed investors.
This funding is said to reduce an existing debt of USD 5 billion and expand its African operations ahead of a proposed initial public offering (IPO), which is expected in early 2019.
Managing director and chief executive of parent company Bharti Airtel, Raghunath Mandava said in a statement, “This primary equity issuance clearly underlines the confidence of leading global investors in Airtel Africa’s successful business strategy and its potential to sustain growth and profitability. The transaction will help us further deleverage our balance sheet and boost our capacity to upgrade networks, expand coverage in different markets and achieve rapid growth of Airtel Money across our operations.”
To recall, in 2015, Airtel partnered with Facebook to expand mobile internet access across Africa. Mobile technology is on the rise in Africa, with a great deal of investor interest, especially from venture capital.