The Tanzanian government has expressed its opposition of the Airtel Africa IPO because the country should have been consulted ahead, and given that the ownership of Airtel Tanzania will depend of negotiations between Bharti Airtel and the government.
The company claimed that it had already informed Tanzanian authorities about the IPO and the recent investment it raised from backers such as SoftBank and Singtel to reduce its debt ahead of sale. Airtel Africa also added that it rejects any change in the ownership structure of its unit in the country.
It is noteworthy that the state owns 40% of Airtel Tanzania, a unit of the 14 forming Airtel Africa. Besides, it’s not the first time these two parties get confronted. Back in 2017, the Tanzanian government launched a probe into Airtel’s acquisition of Zain in Tanzania and found that the initial privatization of Tanzania Telecommunications Corp. “broke the law, regulations and procedure”.
Airtel denied such accusation and said the acquisition was in full compliance and followed all approvals from the government. However, following talks between the two, it appeared an agreement had been reached, though no formal notification was made.