Vodacom Tanzania Seeks more Investors with IPO Deadline Extension

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Vodacom Tanzania has extended its initial public offering (IPO) period for a second time to allow foreign investors to take part, the telecom operator has said.

The company, a subsidiary of South Africa’s Vodacom Group, said it had received approval from Tanzania’s capital market regulator to extend the offer period until July 28, after the country changed its laws to allow foreigners to buy telecom’s shares.

“This extension will help ensure participation by international investors,” the company said in a statement.

A listing on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange was tentatively set for Aug. 15, the company added. The government lifted a ban on foreigners participating in telecoms IPOs last month, a move expected to widen the pool of potential investors for several major companies.

Vodacom plans to raise 476 billion shillings ($213.07 million) by selling 560 million shares at 850 shillings each.   Traders said the purchase of the shares by local investors was slow even after the offer period was extended twice due to concerns about adequate liquidity in the local market.

In Tanzania, telecom operators are required by law to have 25 percent local ownership via IPOs at the local bourse.    The government hopes the listings will bring more transparency and offer the public a share of the industry’s profits.

Two other major telecoms operators, Millicom’s subsidiary Tigo and the local business of India’s Bharti Airtel, have also submitted prospectuses to the regulator and are awaiting approval for their IPOs. The number of mobile phone subscribers in Tanzania rose by 0.9 percent in 2016 to 40.17 million. Mobile phone use has surged over the past decade, helped by the launch of cheaper mobile phones.

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