The Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) regional exchange saw out the old year by listing the shares of telephone company Orange Côte d’Ivoire on 30 December for trading on the stock exchange. This follows the bourse’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) on the bourse, which raised XOF 141.0 bn ($233m).
The listing came after the Government sold a stake of 9.95% in the telecom operator through offering 14,990,207 shares. The IPO price was XOF 9,500 ($15.70) per share, with a reduced price of XOF 7,600 for employees of Orange CI.
The first day of trading saw the price (ticker: ORAC) rise to XOF 10,210 and it closed on 13 January at XOF 10,200.
BRVM Director General Edoh Kossi Amenounvé commented at the listing: “There is no happier event for a stock exchange than the listing of a new company, especially in a context where this type of operation is becoming increasingly rare.”
Mr. Amenounvé said earlier the IPO “will show other state-owned companies that it is important to come to the market. It is a privatization by the Ivory Coast Government and that will be an example to the other countries in our region.” He said between 80 and 100 state-owned companies across the region could be listed.
“Because of the situation our governments are facing in terms of raising capital on the international market, they may look now to the possibility of raising capital using privatization. We have been expecting this IPO for many years.”
The Government first announced in 2016 that it would sell part of its 14.95% share in Orange CI, which arose from a merger with land-line operator Côte d’Ivoire Telecom. Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Economy and Finance Adama Coulibaly chaired the listing ceremony.
This gave the company a total market capitalization (value of shares listed) at XOF 1.54 trillion ($2.5bn). This is very similar to the value of shares listed for SONATEL, another subsidiary of Orange, based in Senegal. The two telcos make up some 40% of the total market capitalization of the BRVM.
MTN was the biggest mobile operator in Côte d’Ivoire with 39% market share, while Orange CI had 35.5% share and Onatel, subsidiary of Moov Africa (previously Maroc Telecom, part of e& group formerly Etisalat), had 25.5%.
It is the second IPO on the BRVM in three years. Aviation company NAS Ivoire Holding, also known as Menzies Aviation, opened its IPO in November and was due to close in December.