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Malawi investors snap up Airtel stock

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Airtel Africa's planned IPO in Malawi has met with plenty of local demand, with all 2.2 million shares on offer, amounting to 20% of the operator's total shareholding, snapped up by investors and ready to be traded on the country's national exchange starting February 24.

Gross proceeds from the offer will amount to 27.92 billion Malawian Kwacha (US$37.5 million), the maximum expected. Airtel Africa, which operates in 14 markets, had outlined the IPO plans in December last year and gave further details last month as it announced its financial results for the first nine months of 2019. (See Airtel Africa Boasts Strong 9-Month Growth.)

Airtel needed to list the shares in its Malawian business to comply with the requirements of the country's 2016 Communications Act, which requires that communications service providers must have a local shareholding of at least 20% of their stock.

Airtel Malawi, which says its networks cover 85% of the country's population, is the number two mobile operator in the country with about 3.5 million customers, giving it a market share of more than 40%. It trails Telekom Networks Malawi (already listed on the exchange), which commands more than 57% of the market.

— The staff, Connecting Africa

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