There is emerging information that telecommunication company, Airtel Nigeria, is holding talks with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to become a listed company.
The speculation about Airtel’s possible listing follows a meeting held at the headquarters of the NCC in Abuja, which had henchmen from the three organisations in attendance. The henchmen include -the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Bharti Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava; Managing Director, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya; Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr Oscar Onyema; and the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta.
It was also learnt that two top officials of Stanbic IBTC attended the meeting. The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) was also represented at the meeting.
While one may wonder the involvement of Stanbic IBTC, it is pertinent to understand that Stanbic IBTC Holdings Limited is registered with SEC as an Issuing House and an underwriter. In other words, it provides investment banking services to corporate clients.
Nairametrics understand that Airtel Nigeria is not the first Nigerian telco to be considering listing. A few weeks ago, Rob Shuter, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Group Limited, confirmed that MTN Nigeria will list on the NSE in the first half of this year.
Laudable move for Airtel?
If Airtel Nigeria should finally go public with an Initial Public Offering (IPO), the telco will be auctioning its first sale of stock. By this, the telco will use the IPO as a way to generate the capital needed to expand.
However, the financial benefit in the form of raising capital is the most distinct advantage. Capital can be used to fund capital expenditure, or even used to pay off existing debt.
Another reason why this move may be lauded is an increased public awareness Airtel will enjoy in the investing public. Subsequently, this may lead to an increase in Airtel’s market share.