Africa set for $3.1bn boom in IPOs

Law firm Baker & McKenzie forecasts that African initial public offers (IPOs) of shares will raise over $3.1 billion in 2016 with 15 IPOs in the pipeline. The firm says in a press release that Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are likely to be the busiest exchanges, despite the commodity price headwinds, and that Africa’s fourth exchange for IPOs is.. London.

The 15 IPOs in the pipeline are set to beat the total raised in 2015 by 21 African IPOs by $1.5bn, nearly doubling the total raised that year and more than raised for the while period 2011 to 2013. The last time initial share offers raised this much capital was 2010, when $4.4bn was raised.

Deals include:
• Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange plans to self-list this year
• Botswana Telecommunications Corporations Limited is Botswana’s biggest IPO so far and closed on 4 March
• Egypt has been building up a backlog of delayed deals and many could come to market in coming months, including retail, financial services and food sectors. The Government is also rumoured to be preparing the first privatizations of state owned enterprises since the programme was stopped in 2011, after a boom 2004-2006 when privatizations helped annual economic growth of 7%. One example could be state-owned United Bank of Egypt, a lender with assets of $3.6bn.
• Nigeria’s pipeline looks reasonable for later in the year in the tech, telco and transport sectors
• South Africa will see 2 or more deals, after 9 IPOs in 2015
• Mauritius continues to act as Africa’s offshore financial centre, equity offerings include rights issues and private placements as well as IPOs
• Rwanda predicts 3 IPOs this year
• Blueline is a west African train project which aims to list in Paris, promoted by French tycoon Vincent Bolloré
• Markets are watching with keen interest the progress by the East African Securities Exchange Association seeking to fast-track integration of their markets, which may unlock demand among issuers while increasing liquidity.

Most active sectors for last 5 years were power, real estate, financial services and healthcare. As the markets broaden, there is growing interest in consumer staples and technology, as the growing middle class demand more sophisticated services.

Koen Vanhaerents, Baker & McKenzie’s Global Head of Capital Markets, commented: “These are challenging economic times for those of Africa’s economies dependent on commodities for much of their income, while so-called “hot money” flows out of emerging market funds investing in Africa. So it is positive to see steady progress in Africa’s equity capital markets, with a strong pipeline so early in 2016 and potentially larger deals than we’ve seen for some time.”

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London remains the key global financial centre for Africa. Edward Bibko, head of B&M EMEA Capital Markets Practice, said: “There’s enormous pent up demand among issuers to conduct capital raisings, particularly in Egypt, which is showing strong growth and the emergence of a larger middle class. The wider continent still faces challenges and there is little local institutional investment or retail demand other than in the biggest economies. This means larger companies have to dual-list in a global financial centre like London, as well as their home market, to avoid volatility driven by the fact that skittish international investors make up the majority of market activity.” As mentioned earlier, Interswitch plans the first $1bn tech listing, probably a dual listing in London and the Nigerian Stock Exchange, although this may be delayed until early 2017. Mauritius headquarters Essar Energy raised $1.9bn, the largest sum ever by an African company when it listed in London in 2010.

Other equity deals include:
• Real estate fund Tadvest’s dual-listing in Mauritius and Namibia
• Mauritian retailer Compagnie des Magasins Populaires’ recently announced $4 million rights issue
• Atlantic Leaf Properties’ $70m private placement of equity listed on Stock Exchange of Mauritius.

This video broadcast on 7 March on CNBC features Wildu du Plessis, Partner at Baker & McKenzie, with some interesting ideas and very useful regional breakdowns.

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