The Kenyan government has announced the details of the initial public offer (IPO) of shares in the country’s largest cellular operator, Safaricom. The government will offload a 25% stake at KES5 (USD0.073) per share, valuing the operator at around USD3.06 billion. Ten billion shares will be on offer, with 35% of these initially reserved for foreign institutional investors, though this may be reduced if the domestic portion is oversubscribed by at least 200%. Overseas buyers will pay a slight premium on the basic share price and the Finance Ministry expects to generate a minimum of USD767 million from the sale, Reuters reports. The IPO will open to the public on 28 March and close on 23 April.
Safaricom is one of Kenya’s most profitable companies, posting pre-tax profit of KES17.19 billion shillings for the twelve months to the end of March 2007. The government, which has a 60% stake in the operator, originally planned the IPO for late last year but was forced to postpone the sale when violent protests erupted following the disputed general election in December. Vodafone Kenya owns the remaining 40% of Safaricom.