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Airtel yet to get SEC approval to list on NSE

Airtel yet to get SEC approval to list on NSE

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is yet to approve the planned secondary listing of Airtel Africa Plc on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The NSE had on Thursday July 4 said the telecom giant will be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Friday, July 5, at the price of N363 per share; adding that Airtel was granted a waiver on cross-border listing, because it had done primary listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

In a surprising announcement on Friday morning, the Nigerian Stock Exchange said the planned Cross Border Secondary Listing of 3,758,151,504 ordinary shares of Airtel Africa Plc has been postponed from the scheduled date of Friday, July 5, 2019.

The NSE said the listing postponement was necessitated by the need to ensure that the Company meets all the post NSE approvals pre-requisites for listing on the NSE.

Though, the Facts Before the Listing event scheduled on the NSE still holds as planned on Friday, July 5, 2019, an informed source at the SEC told BusinessDay that the SEC was yet to approve Airtel listing on NSE.

“When they listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), did they not complete their documentation?”, the source asked.

Our source further said: “As we speak, representatives of Airtel Africa Plc are still at the Securities and Exchange Commission running from one office to another looking for approvals for documents relating to the secondary listing on The Nigerian Stock Exchange. Until they complete their documentation, we can’t approve,” our source said.

Recall that at the SEC Nigeria, majority of its documentations are done manually, and most times require the physical appearances of the related parties thereby affecting the turnaround time for documentation during such important exercise.

When BusinessDay called Erhumu Bayagbon, Public Relations Manager, Airtel, he responded with a terse message, saying “Can I call you later?”.

There are indications from market sources that the Nigerian Admission and commencement of Airtel Africa trading on The Nigerian Stock Exchange will now be on Monday, 8 July, 2019.  As at the time of filing this report, he hasn’t called.

The secondary listing will mark the conclusion of a price discovery through a book building process that ended on June 28, 2019. Further price discovery is expected to continue on the floor of the Exchange, the NSE said at a pre-listing media briefing in Lagos Thursday.

The listing will add about N1.36tn (about $4.44b) to the market cap. This will make Airtel the third-most capitalised company on the NSE, after Dangote Cement (N3.042trn) and MTN Nigeria (N2.626trn). MTN listed on the NSE in May this year by introduction.

Airtel Africa operates in 14 African countries. In Nigeria it has 45.433 million subscribers, making it the third-biggest telecom operator in the country, after MTN with 64.73 million subscribers, and Globacom, with 46.38million, according to figures on the website of the Nigerian Communications Commission, which regulates the industry.

The company will be marked below Listing Requirements to allow it time to increase its number of Nigerian shareholders to at least 300. Its free float is 25 percent, which is reasonably above 10 percent which the NSE requires for cross-border listing.