Editor’s Note: March 05, 2018

African private equity finally gets a big listing

Helios Towers Africa (HTA), a mobile phone towers operator, plans to list on the London Stock Exchange in April with an expected valuation of at least $2bn. A secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange is also planned. The company operates in Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo-Brazzaville and Tanzania.

HTA was established in 2009, backed by investors including Helios Investment Partners, a London-based sub-Saharan Africa focused private equity firm. It led the investment with an initial 28.6% stake having launched Africa’s first independent mobile towers business in Nigeria in 2006.

A paucity of IPOs has long been a criticism of African private equity, where trade sales dominate. The high profile listing is good news for the industry, which has seen major market entrants like KKR shut up shop and deal values shrink during the slowdown of the last two years.

Other big Africa-focused telecoms IPOs are in the pipeline, but the choice of London and Johannesburg is also a reminder of how illiquid most of Africa’s bourses are – a major constraint on IPOs. The Nigerian Stock Exchange for example has a market cap of less than $50bn.

While encouraging listings like this are likely to remain the exception.

From The Continent

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged a new era of cooperation with Angola in areas including tourism, infrastructure, trade, energy, mining and agriculture.The rapprochement comes after decades of frosty ties between the two leading southern African economies and recent leadership changes in both. More: Africanews

Democratic Republic of Congo president Joseph Kabila will meet mining company representatives on Tuesday for talks about a new mining code revision that would hike mineral royalties. He is yet to sign the code, which has met fierce opposition from international miners active in the country including Glencore and Randgold. More: Reuters

The Daily Stat


The number of male northern white rhinos left alive, which lives in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. More: CNN

The Global Perspective

The Trump administration plans to reboot Barack Obama’s flagship “Power Africa” programme, expanding the previously set target of providing electricity to 60m people on the continent. The announcement suggests fears of a wholesale abandonment of Africa under Trump may be exaggerated. More: CGTN 

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have announced a joint $10bn fund to build a 1,000 square kilometre ‘mega-city’ and business zone in the southern Sinai Peninsula. The deal was announced in Cairo on Sunday during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first public trip abroad. More: Reuters

The Daily Follow

Oluseun Onigbinde @seunonigbinde: Co-founder of BudgIT Nigeria, an initiative to clean up Nigeria’s opaque public finances.