Tanzania opens telecom IPOs to East Africans

Wednesday June 28 2017

Brokers at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. PHOTO | FILE 

Brokers at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. PHOTO | FILE  

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Tanzania has now opened the initial public offering (IPO) market to all East Africans, lifting a ban that had locked out foreigners from buying shares in ongoing listing of telecoms at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE).

The removal of the restrictions offers hope to the country’s largest telco Vodacom, which recently offered 25 per cent of its shares in an IPO, but failed to raise the Tsh560 billion ($248.5 million) exclusively allocated to Tanzanians.

“The restrictions on participation of non-Tanzanian investors in the IPOs of the telecommunication companies have been removed following the amendments of the Electronic and Postal Communication Act (EPOCA) 2010 by the Finance Bill 2017,” the Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) said in a statement Wednesday.

CMSA said plans are being finalised “to enable public participation in the IPOs”.

In June 2016, Tanzania enacted the EPOCA law that required telcos to sell a quarter of their shares on the DSE to boost domestic ownership. The country, however, barred foreign investors, including East Africans, from participating.

Vodacom, a unit of South Africa’s Vodafone Group, was forced to extend its offering for three weeks after Tanzanians failed to absorb its shares. The IPO had been offered on March 9 to close on April 19, before the date was postponed. It has yet to announce the results.

Its listing on the DSE was also pushed from May to June.

“With regard to the Vodacom Plc IPO, the issuer is expected to announce before end of this week the modality of finalising the offering and provide information on the listing date,” the CMSA head of public relations, Charles Shirima said Wednesday.

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