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IHS set for biggest African IPO in U.S

IHS Holdings Limited is reportedly planning the biggest Initial Public Offering (IPO) by an African company in the United States.  

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IHS sets for the biggest African IPO in U.S

IHS Holdings Limited, which has operations in Nigeria and other African countries, is reportedly seeking the biggest Initial Public Offering (IPO) of an African company in the United States.

The wireless tower’s operator has engaged Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase and Co as global coordinators for the listing that could give Africa’s largest operator of wireless towers a valuation that could be as much $7 billion. The Mauritius-based firm is working towards a New York IPO as soon as the first half of the year.

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While Citigroup and JPMorgan have top spots on the IPO, other lenders will be included to be part of the syndicate. This was disclosed by an official of the company, who wished to remain anonymous, as no final decision has been taken and the timeline could be pushed back, depending on market conditions.

The tower operator would prefer a U.S. listing to London because some of the largest tower companies such as American Tower Corp. and Crown Holdings Inc. are all based in U.S. and trade at higher valuation multiples. At a $7 billion valuation, it is going to be the biggest listing by an African company in the U.S. according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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[READ MORE: Airtel Africa announces IPO result in Malawi, says its fully subscribed)

According to Bloomberg, IHS, whose owners include South African Telecoms giant, MTN Group Limited and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., started reviving work on a share sale late last year after scrapping plans back in 2018 due to uncertainty around a presidential election in Nigeria, which happens to be its main market.

With the company expanding its network of about 24,000 towers as growing African populations demand cheaper and faster mobile connections, it took advantage of opportunities in the debt market for $1.3 billion last year.

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The Chief Executive Officer of IHS, Sam Darwish, in an interview last year, had disclosed the company’s plans to gain entrance into new markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia ahead of potential attempt to sell shares in either New York or London.

About IHS: It is the largest mobile telecommunications infrastructure provider in Africa, Europe and the Middle East by tower count and the third-largest independent multinational tower company globally. Founded by Sam Darwish in Lagos, in 2001, the company specializes in building towers and managing sites for mobile network operators. It has operations in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Zambia and Rwanda.

Following the recent acquisitions of tower portfolios of MTN and Etisalat in Nigeria, IHS owns and manages over 23,000 towers in Africa.

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Patricia

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Coronavirus

Novavax secures $1.6 billion funding for COVID-19 vaccine production

The fund is expected to help Novavax start a final-stage study of its vaccine candidate.

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Novavax secures $1.6 billion funding for covid-19 vaccine production

An American Vaccine Development Firm, Novavax Inc, one of the front runners in the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 treatment, will receive $1.6 billion funding from the United State government to support large scale manufacturing of coronavirus vaccine.

This represents the biggest contribution to the ‘Operations Warp Speed Program’, a public-private partnership initiative by the US government, to facilitate and accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

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Novavax in a statement said that the funds will allow the biotech firm to conduct advanced human studies and engage in manufacturing to deliver 100 million doses as soon as late 2020.

Novavax is among the companies trying to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus that has developed into a pandemic and spreading rapidly in countries like US, India and Mexico. The Operation Warp Speed Program has supported efforts of firms like Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Merck & Co, to get doses of the vaccine as early as possible.

READ MORE: New Covid-19 Cases reach all-time high – WHO

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The fund is expected to help Novavax start a final-stage study of its vaccine candidate before the winter period, with as many as 30,000 people.

Novavax, had earlier secured as much as $388 million in May from the coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the single largest contributions from the organization at that time. The biotech company’s vaccine candidate is to provoke the production of antibodies that prevent the spike protein which the coronavirus uses to infect host cells.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drug manufacturing firms and university researchers are investigating more than 140 experimental vaccines. Moderna, Pfizer and the University of Oxford, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, are among the companies and institutions that have started studies of their vaccines in healthy patients.

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Hospitality & Travel

Lagos Ferry Company targets 480,000 commuting passengers daily – MD

The administration is seeking ways to decongest the heavy Lagos traffic and using inland water transport.

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The Managing Director of the Lagos Ferry Services Company (LAGFERRY) Mr AbdoulBaq Balogun says the company has a target of transporting 480,000 people daily on the waterways of Lagos State.

He made the comment in an online show called ”Covinspiration”.

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He said, “As at June 30, we had operated for 77 days on inland waterways and moved 60,000 passengers”. Revealing that the company had 14 boats and was making efforts to expand operations with bigger ferries with the involvement of private investors.

Adding that the administration is seeking ways to decongest the heavy Lagos traffic and tapping into the potential of inland water transport.

“With about 1.6 million people moving on Lagos roads every day, we are being tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that we move at least 30 percent of these motorists off the roads through the waterways. 

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“That gives us about 480,000 passengers. So, moving 480,000 passengers is our daily target on the waterways of Lagos State.

“Mr Governor is focusing his energy on ensuring a multi-modal transport system with the abundance of water bodies we have. We are moving people and goods on pleasant experience through the inland waterways,” he said.

READ MORE: FG to shut Third Mainland Bridge for 6 months

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He said the company operates in all the 40 inland waterway routes, and expanded operations will decongest traffic from in the on Lekki Epe Expressway, Ikorodu road,  the Third Mainland Bridge and Lagos-Badagry Expressway

The managing director said that traffic congestion on Lekki Epe Expressway, Ikorodu road, the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos-Badagry Expressway would be minimized with LAGFERRY operations in those six routes.

“We are just coming on board, we are still testing the water, passengers are just coming to know us and we are still creating awareness. 

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“We have not reached our peak and we are yet to get to the optimum operational level. We want to expand the services of LAGFERRY to other routes and enhance productivity,” he said.

 

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Economy & Politics

Update: Buhari suspends EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu from office

The suspension follows the investigation of allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday.

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EFCC to help AMCON recover bad debts

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, from office. The suspension follows the investigation of allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday.

According to available information, Magu was suspended to allow for probe into allegations against him.

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READ MORE: NNPC denies allegation of under payment to Federation Accounts

The EFCC boss appeared before a presidential probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami, who is investigating the allegations against him.

The latest development is coming a day after he was invited to face the Rtd Justice Ayo Salami led probe panel, to various allegations that had been levelled against him, which borders on misconduct and financial irregularities.

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Meanwhile, the Presidency in reaction to the probe of Magu, declared that it shows that nobody under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is above scrutiny. A monitored report suggests that the investigation of the EFCC boss was to reinforce that this administration’s commitment to transparency and accountability, adding that the holder of such office must be above suspicion.

A monitored report states that the interrogation of Magu is to give him the opportunity to clear himself of the weighty allegations against him.

The Department of State Services (DSS), yesterday stated that contrary to claims in the media that the EFCC boss had been arrested, he was only invited by a presidential panel that was set up to review the activities of the EFCC.

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According to the DSS, he was served the invitation to the panel, while on his way to the Force Headquarters, Abuja for a meeting, so he was neither arrested nor forced to honour the invitation.

The acting Chairman of EFCC appeared before the panel probing allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday, July 6, 2020.

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