WINDHOEK - Namibia's biggest mobile operator MTC plans to raise 3.1 billion Namibian dollars ($210 million) in a November listing, as the government seeks to fund its social programmes and cut debt.
The planned initial public offering (IPO), which a prospectus launched on Monday shows will see MTC sell a 49% stake, is the largest listing by a Namibian company and a first by a state-owned entity in the country.
The listing of MTC, which has paid regular dividends to the government, is expected to help Namibia pare some of its sovereign debt, public enterprises minister Leon Jooste said earlier this month in a public briefing.
Africa has lagged other emerging markets which have seen an IPO boom in the last year and a half, as stock markets soared and investors flocked to them in search of better returns.
The performance of public offerings such as MTC's are likely to be seen as a gauge of appetite for IPOs in African countries, which are often known for regulatory and funding challenges, several international investors have told Reuters.
The state-owned company, which has 2.4 million subscribers, has offered its shares at 8.50 Namibian dollars, the prospectus showed, and the subscription will be open until Nov. 1 ahead of a listing on the Namibia Stock Exchange on Nov. 19.
The mobile carrier has a strong dividend pay-out profile with an average of 75% of net profit paid out over four years since 2016, the IPO prospectus shows.
MTC boasts a 90% market share in mobile telecommunications, with a well-penetrated transmission and distribution network as well as a 97% population coverage, it added. ($1 = 14.7360 Namibian dollars)
(Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; Editing by Promit Mukherjee and Alexander Smith) ((email@example.com; +27 64833 4448;))