Vodacom Tanzania wrapping up $213m IPO on Dar es Salaam bourse

Some 40,000 Tanzanians subscribed for the TZS476 billion ($213 million) initial public offer (IPO) of Vodacom Tanzania Ltd, part of South Africa’s Vodacom Group. The figure came from company’s MD, Ian Ferrao, quoted in the Citizen newspaper.

It is the largest IPO in the history of the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) and attracted many first-time buyers.

The company says it has 12.4m customers and 31% market share of a telecoms market it estimated was worth $996m. It says TZS2.6 trillion ($1.17bn) is transacted every month by over 7m customers of its M-pesa mobile money solution. It had offered 560m shares (25% of the company) at TZS850 each. The IPO opened on 9 March and was extended for 3 weeks after the closure date of 19 April and ended 11 May. The announcement of results was due on 26 May, and the listing was expected on 12 June 2017 but has not yet been reported. According to news reports, the Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) is busy with verification, according to Orbit Securities which is Vodacom’s lead advisor.

Mr Simon Juventus, General Manager of Orbit, said the time extension meant more investors could be reached: “This time around we reached many investors unlike the first six weeks … the progress was good.”

The IPO follows the Electronic and Postal Communications Act of 2010 (EPOCA) which requires all telecom companies to list, and the June 2016 Finance Act requiring them to list at least 25% on the DSE to boost domestic ownership, with foreigners barred.

So far only Vodacom is busy with the process. On 1 June, President John Magufuli said that telecoms licences would be revoked if telecom companies did not list on the Dar es Salaam bourse saying they made enough profit to pay the fines of TZS300m and ordered the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to act tough against telcos that do not list.

According to the President, as reported in Daily News: “Listing at the bourse will enhance transparency and enable the Government to collect its fair share of revenues,” He noted that Ethiopia’s state-owned monopoly telephone company has 30m-35m subscribers and made $1.5bn profit. Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd (TTCL) has not paid any dividends since shares were sold to foreign investors in 1990s.

Other companies which list are Airtel (Bharti Airtel Ltd of India and Government each offered to sell 12.5% of the shares), Tigo (local subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular SA of Luxembourg) and Maxcom Maxcom Africa (MaxMalipo), which have presented their prospectus to the CMSA. According to Daily News, the Tanzania Communciations Regulatory Authority (TCRA) says there are 86 tele-firms which that s must list. andOthers include TTCL, Halotel Tanzania, Zantel and Smart. Finance Minister Philip Mpango proposed that smaller companies should be exempted from IPOs as he presenting the Finance Bill 2017 to Parliament.

Opening the IPOs to foreigners
Mpango on 22 June told parliamentarians that Government would bring legislation to allow foreign investors to buy shares in telecommunications companies listing on the DSE. According to Bloomberg , after the IPO stalled.

The combined value of expected telco listings would be $1bn, compared to stock exchange capitalization of about $8.4bn. The Daily News reported that the law change would probably be through a 2017/18 Financial Bill to amend EPOCA.
“We want to open up the mandate of companies listing 25% of their shares to allow Tanzanians, Tanzanian companies, Tanzanians in the diaspora, joint ventures between Tanzanians and foreigners, East Africans or companies owned by East Africans, or citizens from other countries.”

The article quotes George Fumbuka, CEO at stockbroker Core Securities: “We are now doing it the way it should’ve been done. I can understand trying to give special treatment for locals, but in the stock market it should be open market.” He said he thought Vodacom was overpriced and an open market would encourage compaies to price IPOs “more competitively”.

George Kalebaila, director for telecoms and Internet of Things in Africa at International Data Corporation, was quoted by The East African newspaper: “Equity markets need time to develop and I think 25 per cent is rather ambitious, as there is limited equity in local hands waiting to be invested. That’s why you see the shareholding structure of a couple of large organisations favour wealthy and politically connected individuals, who have access to capital.” Foreigners will also be able to buy the shares after the IPO

System to track electronic payments

On 1 June President Magufuli launched Electronic Revenue Collection System (e-RCS), which will be operated by Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and Zanzibar Revenue Board (ZRB). The system is designed to track and directly collect Value Added Tax (VAT) and Excise duty on all electronic transactions by communication companies and financial institutions, with the views of enhancing efficiency in the collection of government revenues.

Tanzania Revenue Authority Commissioner General Charles Kichere said only 3 companies – Halotel, Smart and TTCL – have so far joined e-RCS. He said it was an efficient tool for tracking and collecting revenues through electronic payments without human intervention.

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