Bharti Airtel said its unit Airtel Africa has “informed it of its intention to proceed with an IPO” that could raise up to $863 million.
The IPO will be sized at $750 million, with a greenshoe option of 15%. Greenshoe option refers to the facility given to the underwriters to an IPO to buy extra shares, should they feel that doing so will generate profit for them.
The money raised will be used to reduce the debt of Airtel Africa. The move would also provide some indirect benefit to the Indian parent, which is suffering under a heavy debt load of its own.
The shares of Airtel Africa will be listed on the premium segment of London Stock Exchange. The company is also considering a listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, it said.
The disclosure puts to rest all speculation about a delay in the IPO of the African unit.
There had been reports that the India-based group had decided to delay the IPO process due to turmoil in the global equity markets.
Airtel Africa, which provides telecom services in around 15 countries in the continent, largely comprises the African operations of Zain, acquired by the Indian company in 2010 for $9 billion.
Nigeria is Airtel’s most profitable market, followed by Ghana.