Sunday 3 February 2019 5:51 pm

Telecoms tycoon Sunil Mittal plots £6bn Airtel Africa float in welcome boost for City

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Indian telecoms mogul Sunil Mittal is eyeing an $8bn (£6.1bn) float of Airtel Africa in a much-needed boost for London listings.

The billionaire boss of Bharti Airtel, the second-largest mobile operator in India, is planning an initial public offering (IPO) of the company’s Africa division later this year, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Read more: London listings in slowest start since 2010 as Brexit worries dampen market

Mittal is reportedly working with advisers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and is looking for a communications firm to manage the multi-billion-pound listing. 

The planned float would be the largest on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) since the £12bn IPO of Allied Irish Bank in 2017. It would also be a welcome boost for the LSE, which has recorded its slowest start to the year since the financial crisis as Brexit jitters prompt growing investor caution.

Airtel Africa, which operates in 15 African countries, will use the float to help ease debts of roughly $3.5bn.

In October the firm secured $1.25bn from a consortium of six investors, including Softbank, while last week it announced a $200m injection from the Qatar Investment Authority.

Read more: IPO activity set to slow over Brexit concerns despite late rally to end 2018

Airtel, which has appointed eight global banks to work on the listing, had originally planned the float for earlier this year. But Mittal reportedly delayed the move amid market uncertainty.

Bharti Airtel could not be reached for comment.