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Airtel commences tranche-1 of $100mn share buy-back on London Stock Exchange

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Airtel Africa Plc has announced the commencement of its share buy-back programme.

The share buy-back commences today March 1, 2024, and will return up to $100 million to shareholders over a period of up to 12 months.

The share buy-back programme is expected to be phased over two tranches, with the first tranche commencing today Friday, March 1 and anticipated to end on or before August 31, 2024. The first tranche will amount to a maximum of $50 million.

The company had on February 1, 2024, announced its share buy-back programme following the publication of its nine-month (9M) results ended December 31, 2023.

The Company said it has entered into an agreement with Citigroup Global Markets Limited (Citi) to conduct the first tranche of the buy-back and carry out on-market purchases of its ordinary shares with the Company subsequently purchasing its ordinary shares from Citi.

“Under this agreement, Citi will act as riskless principal and will make decisions independently of the Company. The sole purpose of the buy-back programme is to reduce the capital of the Company. As such, all shares purchased under the buy-back programme will be cancelled,” the telecommunications and mobile money services company noted.

“This buy-back programme reflects the significant progress made in recent years to reduce leverage and strengthen the Company’s balance sheet. In light of the cash accretion at the holding company level, the current leverage and the consistently strong operating cash generation, the Company is well positioned to undertake this share buy-back to enhance shareholder returns which is consistent with its existing capital allocation policy,” Airtel said.

Further details of the share buy-back programme

The company said that “Any purchases of ordinary shares under the buy-back programme will be carried out in accordance with certain pre-set parameters set out in the agreement with Citi and in accordance with (and subject to the limits prescribed by) the Company’s general authority to repurchase ordinary shares granted by its shareholders from time to time (at the annual general meeting on July 4, 2023, shareholders gave the Company authority to purchase a maximum of 375,815,150 ordinary shares), Chapter 12 of the Financial Conduct Authority’s Listing Rules and the provisions of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 (as it forms part of domestic law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, as amended).

“Purchases may continue during any closed periods of the Company during the engagement period. For the avoidance of doubt, no repurchases will be made on the Nigerian Exchange. The Company intends to enter into arrangements to commence a second tranche of the share buy-back programme in an amount of up to $50 million in due course”.