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Bharti Airtel Plans London IPO for Africa Unit to Cut Debt

  • Airtel Africa to offer new shares, operates in 14 countries
  • Operator’s group debt has ballooned to more than $16 billion
General Economy And City Views In Chadian Capital N'Djamena
Photographer: Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg
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Bharti Airtel Ltd. is planning a share sale for its Africa unit in London as part of a push by the Indian wireless operator to cut a debt load that’s ballooned to more than $16 billion.

The initial public offering by Airtel Africa Ltd. would comprise new shares and the sale would seek a free float of at least 25%, the company said in a filing on Tuesday. Airtel is Africa’s second-largest mobile operator behind Johannesburg-based MTN Group Ltd. with almost 100 million subscribers across 14 countries including Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania.