Burkina Faso’s Onatel Raises US$60 million in IPO

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The Burkinabé government has raised 29 billion CFA francs (US$59.6 million) from the sale of a 20% stake in fixed-line incumbent Onatel through an initial public offering (IPO), according to Reuters. The IPO closed on 31 January 2009 and shares are due to be listed on the Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BRVM), the regional stock exchange in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire), on 1 May 2009. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector arm of the World Bank, announced that it plans to purchase up to a 5% stake in Onatel by buying any shares not subscribed to in the offering. The IFC says that its participation is designed to not displace any private investors. If all 20% is sold, then the government plans to sell an additional 3% stake to the IFC at the offer price.

This follows the government's sale of a 51% stake in Onatel to Maroc Telecom in January 2008 for 220 million euro, which gave Maroc Telecom some 400,000 mobile users (39% of the market) and over 100,000 fixed-line customers at the time. The government has been looking to privatise the operator since at least 2003.