Safaricom IPO to go ahead

13 Aug 2007

The Kenyan government says the sale of a 25% stake in Safaricom, the country’s leading cellular operator, is still on. The announcement follows recent controversy over the firm’s shareholder structure. A parliamentary committee last week recommended a delay in the planned initial public offering (IPO) until Safaricom’s ownership could be clarified.

Earlier this year it emerged that Vodafone of the UK did not hold a direct 40% stake in Safaricom as had been widely believed for some time; its interest is actually held via Vodafone Kenya, a holding company in which the Vodafone Group has an 87.5% stake. The remaining 12.5% slice of Vodafone Kenya is held by Mobitelea Ventures, and it is the ownership of this firm which prompted the parliamentary investigation. But the government says that since the direct ownership structure of Safaricom is known then the sale can go ahead as planned. The state is selling off 25% from its 60% interest in what is expected to be Kenya’s largest ever IPO.

Kenya, Safaricom