Africa-focused Vivo Energy soars after £548m IPO on London SE

Africa’s £1.98 billion ($2.68bn) megalisting Vivo Energy (VVO) soared in its first 2 days of trading on the London Stock Exchange (dual-listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange) at the close of last week. After a successful initial public offer (IPO) of shares at 165.00 pence per share for 323.3 million shares, 27.7% of the company, it listed on the LSE on 10 May and traded up 11% on Thursday to 183.20p, before soaring as high as 198.10p on Friday 11 May and then closing at 185.0p.

Vivo raised £548m ($742m) in the share offer, which was the largest UK-listed African IPO since 2005, when Telecom Egypt raised about £650m, and the biggest IPO in London so far this year.

It listed on the Premium Segment of the LSE Main Market. Global coordinators of the deal were Citigroup, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan.

According to the LSE press release, Christian Chammas, CEO of Vivo Energy: “We have been extremely pleased with the investor response to our offer, in what has been a challenging period for the wider markets. Vivo Energy’s differentiated business model, strong track record, exposure to Africa and the growth opportunity it represents has been well understood by investors. We are excited about the momentum in the business and are looking forward to delivering further growth and success as a London listed company.”

In an article in Financial Times Chammas described Vivo as offering international investors exposure to a diverse group of mostly fast-growing African economies with rapidly expanding urban populations: “We are at the heart of the growth story, the growth of Africa’s population and consumer demand.”

Vivo is a retailer and marketer of Shell-branded fuels and lubricants in Africa, operating about 1,800 service stations across 15 African countries, with Morocco its biggest market. It is expanding fast, and is second in Africa after Total. It is owned 55% by oil trader Vitol Group SA of Switzerland, and 44% by private equity group Helios Investment Partners and 1% by management. Last year earnings before interest, depreication and amortization (EBITDA) was $326m. In December it announced a ZAR3.5bn ($256m) share swap transaction with Engen, South African unit of Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd, which would add 9 more countries and 300 more service stations, which was awaiting regulatory approval.

According to another article in the Financial Times: “People close to the deal said that investor appetite was strong and the listing was more than two times subscribed. The transaction could unlock other African-focused IPOs that had been waiting until a company successfully tested the market.”

Nigeria’s Dangote Cement, which operates across more than 10 African countries, could be planning to raise between $1.2bn and $2bn by floating 10%-15% of the business, according to chairman Aliko Dangote. In May it announced the appointment of non-executive directors Mick Davis (former Xstrata chief executive) and Cherie Blair (lawyer and wife of former UK prime minister Tony Blair).

Another potential large African listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2018 is Liquid Telecom, which describes itself as: “the leading independent data, voice and IP provider in eastern, central and southern Africa. It supplies fibre optic, satellite and international carrier services to Africa’s largest mobile network operators, ISPs and businesses of all sizes. It also provides payment solutions to financial institutions and retailers, as well as award winning data storage and communication solutions to businesses.”

In March Africa-focused mobile phone tower firm Helios Towers, dropped plans for an IPO because of weak investor appetite. Regional rival Eaton Towers had also been considering a listing.

Vivo Energy (photo credit Vitol)

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