- Deal may lift value of West African exchange by as much as 40%
- Orange's wireless operator is merging with landline provider
A combination of Ivory Coast’s landline operator Côte d’Ivoire Telecom and Orange SA’s local unit may be valued at $4 billion to $6 billion on the regional stock exchange, a deal that could increase the capitalization of Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres by as much as 40 percent.
Ivory Coast and Paris-based Orange have agreed to merge Côte d’Ivoire Telecom with Orange Côte d’Ivoire, the biggest mobile operator in the West African country by number of subscribers. Côte d’Ivoire Telecom is 49 percent owned by Ivory Coast and 51 percent by Orange. The combination, scheduled to be completed next month, will leave the government with a 15 percent shareholding, which it could then decide to sell.
The BRVM’s valuation of the combined entity is based on Senegal telecom operator Sonatel’s $4.1 billion market cap as a peer comparison, Edoh Kossi Amenounve, general manager of the exchange, told reporters in New York late Tuesday. The listing may increase BRVM’s market value of about $12.5 billion between 20 and 40 percent, Amenounve said. Sonatel, which is 42 percent owned by Orange, is currently the biggest company on the bourse.
“It is very important for BRVM to have this kind of companies listed in the market,” Amenounve said. “It’s very very good news for BRVM to have Cote d’Ivoire Telecom. If you can have the other telecommunication companies coming from Mali, Togo, Niger and so on, that can be great for the market.”
Other initial public offerings planned this year include Burkina Faso’s largest bank, Coris Bank International, which will probably be finalized by the end of the year or early 2017, around the same time as the listings of Ivorian banks NSIA Banque-Cote d’Ivoire and Societe Ivoirienne de Banque SA, a unit of Morroco’s Attijariwafa Bank, Amenounve said.
The IPO of Groupe Bank of Africa’s Mali unit will be completed within two weeks, he said.
The Abidjan-based BRVM has outperformed peers in Ghana and Nigeria, making it one of the few bourses on the continent to post a gain in the past year. The BRVM Composite Index climbed 18 percent in 2015, while Nigeria’s All Share Index dropped 17 percent and Ghana’s Composite Index declined 12 percent. The regional exchange is heavily weighted in banks, telecommunications and other companies that have few ties to oil, which fell to a 14-year low last month.