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Airtel Africa may consider dual listing on London and Nigerian Stock Exchanges

Airtel Africa may be considering listing on @lseplc and @nsecontact

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Airtel Africa

Popular Africa Telecommunication company, Airtel Africa has disclosed that it is considering a stock market flotation in London to reduce existing debt.

The company says it is looking to raise  $1 billion through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, offering 25% of its shares.

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In a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the company said;

“In furtherance to our previous intimations in this regard, we wish to inform you that Airtel Africa, a subsidiary of the company, has announced its potential intention to undertake an initial public offering for listing its equity shares on London Stock Exchange,”

The company may also follow the footsteps of MTN Nigeria, by listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

$1.25 billion has earlier been raised: Airtel in 2018 raised $1.25 billion from six global investors including SoftBank Group Corp, Warburg Pincus LLC and Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd.

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The company also raised another $200 million from Qatar Investment Authority in March of the same year, which helped in reducing the company’s debt to $4 billion in March from $7.7 billion in 2018.

Airtel CEO, Raghunath Mandava, in a statement said;

“The 14 countries where we operate offer strong GDP growth potential and have young and fast-growing populations, low customer and data penetration and inadequate banking infrastructure,

“These fast-growing markets provide us a great opportunity to grow both our telecom and payments businesses.”

Listing date: Airtel Africa will list in two months time and BofA Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan, and Citigroup have been appointed as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners.

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Absa Group, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs International, HSBC and The Standard Bank of South Africa will also act as joint bookrunners if the offer proceeds.

 

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China more willing to restructure Africa’s debt than private creditors

Agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors.

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A recent study by John Hopkins University reveals it may be easier for African Nations to raise debt and also get debt relief from China than private creditors.

The report of the study comes a day after China promised to cancel interests from loans to African nations and restructure debt to Africa. The study also revealed that China has restructured $15 billion of African debt and written off $3.4 billion in the past ten years.

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After 1,000 Chinese loans, including restructured Mozambican and Republic of Congo debt, were analysed, the researchers concluded that “the agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors”.

The Paris Club recently agreed to pause debt payment valued at $11 billion for the poorest 73 nations freeing up capital to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, not all eligible nations signed up citing fears of default ratings if debt obligations are not met.

The study discovers difficulties in renegotiating terms on International Bonds for African countries due to the disparate ownership structure making private creditors unwilling to grant complete debt relief, citing warnings on rating downgrades.

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China accounts for about 20% of Africa’s external debt and lent over $150 billion to the continent between 2000-2018 the study reveals. Chinese President, Xi Jinping has urged global leaders to be more pragmatic with debt suspension for Africa.

The study says much of the terms of Chinese debt to Africa has not been transparent and the relief negotiations may follow the same path.

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Orange, France’s largest telco operator, may come to Nigeria in months

Orange would also be looking at bolstering partnerships with health companies or institutions.

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Orange, France's largest telco operator, may come to Nigeria in months

France’s largest telecom operator, Orange, is set to extend its tentacles to Nigeria and South Africa.

Chief Executive Officer, Orange, Stephane Richard, who disclosed the news, said that the firm would make the move in a few months.

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He said, “It could make sense to be in economies such as Nigeria and South Africa. If one considers there are things to do, the time frame I am considering is rather a few months than a few years.”

READ ALSO: French telco inks investment partnership with MainOne

The Middle East and Africa, where Orange has a presence in 18 countries, is the company’s fastest-growing market.

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What you need to know: There are chances that the company may eye payment transfers (mobile) in Nigeria.

That is because it makes the largest chunk of its revenue from payment transfers (Middle East), a key part of the group’s diversification into financial services, and Nigeria, which is the most populous black nation, is always an attraction.

READ MORE: Multichoice to integrate Netflix, Amazon contents into decoder

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Meanwhile, earlier in 2020, Orange had stated that it was bringing its operations in the Middle East and Africa into a single entity, paving the way for a potential listing of the operations that could raise cash to invest in overseas expansion.

“Orange would also be looking at bolstering partnerships with health companies or institutions,” he added.

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LIRS further extends deadline for filing annual tax returns by one month

“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.” – Ayodele Subair

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LIRS further extends deadline for filing annual return by one month

The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has again extended the deadline for filing of Annual Tax Returns from May 31 2020 to June 30, 2020.

This is part of the state government’s effort to provide relief to taxpayers in light of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. With this development, annual returns for individuals, both employees and self-employed persons, can be filed anytime before June 30, 2020.

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In a press release signed by Monsurat Amasa, the head of LIRS’ Corporate Communications Department, the agency urged taxpayers to take advantage of the magnanimity of the government and file their returns. The LIRS’ Executive Chairman, Mr. Ayodele Subair, explained the extension thus:

“As the Lagos State Government keeps abreast of global best practices in containing the Covid-19 pandemic and eases the effects of an economic downturn on taxpayers and residents of the State, LIRS had initially extended the deadline for filing annual tax returns for two months, from the statutory March 31st of every fiscal year to May 31, 2020.  

“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.”

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(READ MORE: COVID-19: Lagos issues new guidelines, considers full reopening of economy)

He further explained that taxpayers can file the annual returns from the comfort of their homes and offices using the LIRS eTax platforms. They can also generate assessment and payment schedule, and other tax administration matters on the same platform. Updates on business operations and alternative payment platforms are to be found on the verified handles, and the LIRS website.

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