Airtel Africa Begins Mopping Up Shares to Reduce Capital

Airtel Africa has commenced a share buy-back programme as the company seeks to reduce its share capital in 2024, according to a regulatory filing submitted to the Nigerian Exchange.

This is further to the previous announcement made early in February following the publication of its nine-month results ended 31 December 2023. 

According to Airtel, the share buy-back will commence today and will return up to $100 million to shareholders over a period of up to 12 months. It however declared that no repurchases would be made from the Nigerian bourse.

“The share buy-back programme is expected to be phased over two tranches, with the first tranche commencing today and anticipated to end on or before 31 August 2024.

“The first tranche will amount to a maximum of $50 million. The Company has entered into an agreement with Citigroup Global Markets Limited to conduct the first tranche of the buy-back and carry out on-market purchases of its ordinary shares with the Company subsequently purchasing its ordinary shares from Citi”, the company said.

The company said under this agreement, Citi will act as a riskless principal and will make decisions independently of the Company. It explained that the sole purpose of the buy-back programme is to reduce the capital of the company. As such, all shares purchased under the buy-back programme will be cancelled.

“This buy-back programme reflects the significant progress made in recent years to reduce leverage and strengthen the Company’s balance sheet.

“In light of the cash accretion at the holding company level, the current leverage and the consistent strong operating cash generation, the Company is well positioned to undertake this share buy-back to enhance shareholder returns which is consistent with its existing capital allocation policy”.

The company explained that any purchases of ordinary shares under the buy-back programme will be carried out by certain pre-set parameters set out in the agreement with Citi.

This is also in accordance with (and subject to the limits prescribed by) the Company’s general authority to repurchase ordinary shares granted by its shareholders from time to time.

Airtel Africa said at the annual general meeting on 4 July 2023, shareholders gave the Company authority to purchase a maximum of 375,815,150 ordinary shares.  Purchases may continue during any closed periods of the Company during the engagement period, it added. 

Airtel said for the avoidance of doubt, no repurchases will be made on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The Company intends to enter into arrangements to commence a second tranche of the share buy-back programme in an amount of up to $50 million in due course. #Airtel Africa Begins Mopping Up Shares to Reduce Capital

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