Airtel Uganda’s Planned Listing: A Boost for Local Ownership?

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Airtel Africa recently made it public that its subsidiary Airtel Uganda is gearing up to be listed on the Ugandan Securities Exchange (USE). The move is aimed at selling approximately 20% of the entity, which corresponds to about 8 billion shares. This strategic measure is expected to result in significant local ownership of Airtel Uganda Ltd. The firm favors Ugandan investors and hopes that this move will encourage the growth of capital markets in the country.

Conditional upon the approval from the Capital Markets Authority of Uganda, these shares will be made accessible to investors via traditional methods as well as the Airtel Money platform. This tactic is intended to augment retail participation. The company has engaged Absa Bank Uganda as the chief transaction advisor to enable this process, with an aim to conclude it by the end of this year.

This move aligns with a mandate initiated by the Ugandan government in 2019. According to the directive, it’s compulsory for all telecom organizations functioning in the country to list a minimum of 20% of their shares on the USE within a span of two years of license procurement. The idea is to enhance local ownership and fortify the national economy.

Interestingly, Uganda is in the company of several other African nations like Malawi, Ghana, Tanzania, and Nigeria who have initiated similar measures. Airtel Uganda was anticipated to be listed on the USE by December of last year. However, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) granted the organization a delay due to unfavorable economic conditions cited by the company.

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