World Bank's IFC to participate in Burkina Faso’s telecom IPO


World Bank private sector lender IFC will support an ongoing initial public offering by Burkina Faso's telecom operator Onatel by purchasing up to a 5 percent stake, the IFC said.

The International Finance Corporation said in a statement it would buy any shares not subscribed to, up to a 5 percent stake, in the Onatel IPO launched on December 22 and open to January 31. It was the first such offering made by a company in the developing West African state.

Onatel's privatisation began in 2006, when Burkina Faso's government sold a 51 percent stake to Morocco's Itissalat Al-Maghrib S.A. (Maroc Telecom). The government is selling a further 20 percent of Onatel's capital in the public offering.

IFC said its participation in the IPO was designed to not displace any private investors. It added that if all shares were sold, the government planned to sell IFC an additional 3 percent stake in Onatel at the offering price. The IFC has already announced it is providing a 7.5 million euro loan to support the upgrade of Onatel's fixed and mobile networks.