Bharti Airtel plans to kick off IPO of $5-billion Africa phone unit

Bharti Airtel, India’s second-biggest wireless carrier, is preparing to kick off the initial public offering of its Africa unit in a deal that could raise about $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

Airtel Africa is planning to make a formal announcement about the London listing this month and aims to start trading in June, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. It’s considering seeking an equity valuation of about $5 billion, they said.

The IPO could be one of the biggest in London this year. The exchange’s lackluster domestic volumes are being boosted by emerging-market companies seeking a wider investor pool. Finablr, the currency-exchange firm controlled by an Abu Dhabi-based billionaire, starting taking orders this week for a share sale that could raise as much as $677 million. West Asian payments processor Network International Holdings Plc raised £1.1 billion ($1.4 billion) last month in the largest London IPO this year.

Valuation and the listing date are still under discussion, and final details could change depending on investor demand and market sentiment, the people said. A representative for Bharti Airtel declined to comment.



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