Safaricom IPO faces delays

17 Sep 2007

Reports from Kenya suggest the government’s planned initial public offer (IPO) of shares in the country’s largest cellular operator, Safaricom, could be pushed back to 2008. The state has just chosen investment bank Dyer & Blair to act as advisor to the sale but has still to formally award the contract. Local commentators suggest that carrying out the rest of the IPO process will take at least twelve weeks, taking the sale into a key electioneering period and thus running the risk that it becomes over-politicised. Local newspaper The East African says Safaricom shareholder Vodafone has already expressed its concerns over the timing of the sale in a letter to Kenya’s Minister of Finance. The government is offloading a 25% stake in Safaricom, leaving it with 35%; the remaining 40% is held by Vodafone Kenya, which is itself owned by Vodafone of the UK (87.5%) and Mobitelea Ventures (12.5%).

Kenya, Safaricom, Vodafone Group