UCC extends Airtel's listing by a year 

According to UCC, listing must be within two years from the date of issuance of a license. Airtel's licence was renewed in 2020. Photo / Courtesy 

What you need to know:

  • Airtel had been expected to list 20 percent of its stake before the end of this month
  • However, the telecom has since applied for an extension of about a year 

Airtel applied and was granted permission to delay its listing by a year, according to Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). 

Responding to Monitor’s inquiries in regard to the anticipated listing provided under the law, Mr Keith Kalyegira, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) chief executive officer, said the delay to list by a year was granted by UCC, noting that as a capital markets regulator, they only got involved from an advisory point of view to understand the reasons for the extension. 

“The extension was largely to do with the prevailing economic conditions, because of Covid-19, and the current economic situation globally, which has a local impact,” he said, adding that he was hopeful that the listing will happen within the timelines extended by UCC.  

Ms Rebecca Mukite, the UCC public and international relations manager, yesterday confirmed the extension had been granted due to unfavourable market conditions.   

“Much as its a license obligation, you don’t want a company to list when the market is not ready, otherwise their shares will be undersubscribed,” she said, adding that the economic times after Covid- 19 had forced a lot of businesses and government agencies to re-align their financial decisions. 

“It’s still ongoing, the economy is not stable with less liquidity and we are all cognizant of that,” she said. 

In an interview in March Mr Manoj Murali, the Airtel managing director, told Monitor that the telecom would be “listing on the Uganda Securities Exchange… most probably by December, 2022”, which perhaps was within the December 15,  deadline for the listing. 

Airtel, just like other telecoms, is required to float 20 percent of its stake on the USE under the Uganda Communications (Fees & Fines) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. 

The regulations create a public listing obligation for all National Telecom Operator licensees within two years of the date of a new licence or licence renewal. 

Under the law, Airtel had been expected to list by the close of 2022, joining MTN, which listed on the Exchange in October last year. 

During a media conferences early this year, Mr David Birungi, the Airtel public relations manager, said the telecom was still sorting certain procedural issues internally, after which they would make a public announcement when everything is ready. 

“What is happening internally, is, there are certain things needed in place before listing … we will come back… when we are ready,” he said. 

Airtel is the second-largest telecom, with a total subscriber base of above 10.8 million. 

Airtel is expected to sell at least 20 per cent of its shares through an Initial Public Offer to fulfil a requirement under the National Broadband Policy.

MTN was the first telecom to fulfil requirements of the National Broadband Policy through an initial public offering in which it attracted both local and regional investors. 

According to UCC, listing must be within two years from the date of issuance of a license. 

During 2020, Airtel indicated that it paid $78m (Shs291b) to UCC to renew its public service provider license. 

The telecom also indicated in May that it had applied for an extension of one year before listing on the USE. However, Airtel did not indicate why it had applied for the extension. 

The law 
 
According to UCC, listing must be within two years from the date of issuance of a license. 

During 2020, Airtel indicated that it paid $78m (Shs291b) to UCC to renew its public service provider license. 

The telecom also indicated in May that it had applied for an extension of one year before listing on the USE. 

However, Airtel did not indicate why it had applied for the extension. 

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