India’s Bharti Airtel has seen its proposal to delist the shares of its Zambian subsidiary from the Lusaka Stock Exchange rejected, Bloomberg reports. As reported by CommsUpdate last month, Bharti faced opposition to the move, and in the latest development Friday Ndhlovu, chairman of the Zambian bourse, announced that shares in Airtel Zambia must resume trading immediately. According to Ndhlovu, Bharti failed to follow the correct procedure in attempting to delist the company, while the application ‘lacked merit’. It is understood, however, that Bharti will be able to reapply to delist.
The move to delist came after Bharti announced it would increase its stake in the Zambian cellco from 79% to 97% following the conclusion of a mandatory offer to buy out minority shareholders, which had been launched in November 2010. Around 2,000 shareholders, which hold around 3% of Airtel Zambia’s stock, rejected an offer of ZMK710 (USD0.15) per share however, while Mumba Kapumpa, one of the key architects of Zambia’s local capital market and the first chief executive officer and secretary of the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that he opposed Bharti’s plan to delist the unit, claiming that: ‘The intention of the government then and indeed now is to develop, deepen and broaden the capital market as an alternative place for investments in Zambia, but this development will certainly work against that.’