African IPOs Could Defy Economic Woes To Hit 6-Year High In 2016

Written by Kevin Mwanza

Share offers on African stock markets could hit a six-year high in dollar  terms this year if all the planned issues comes to fruition, a report by Chicago-based law firm Baker & McKenzie said.

According to the report, Nigeria’s fintech group InterSwitch Limited, that processes payments for banks operating in five African countries  will lead other companies on the continent as they seek to raise a record $3.1 billion from Initial Public Offers (IPOs) this year.

This will be highest amount raised in six years, Reuters reported.

InterSwitch could become the first African-owned company to raise a billion dollar through an IPO.

The company has set its targets on the Lagos and London IPOs as it aims to surpass the current record of $1.9 billion that was raised by Essar Energy of Mauritius, when it floated an IPO in London 2010.

Some analysts experts have attributed the bleak financial environment faced by IPOs to lack of proper plans by market players to address the fall in commodity prices across Africa.

“The wider continent still faces challenges and there is little local institutional investment or retail demand other than in the biggest economies,” Edward Bibko head of capital markets at Becker & Mckenzie told Reuters.

Apart from InterSwitch, there are 15 other IPOs expected this year including self-listing by Tanzania’s Dar-es-Salaam Stock Exchange, Botswana Telecoms and Tadvest, a real estate fund listing in Namibia and Mauritius.

Lack of a demand locally has forced some African companies to seek listing overseas in order to attract more investors.

Blueline, a train project in West Africa will be listed in Paris as local companies seek to cushion themselves from the unfriendly economic environment that has hit the continent.