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African equities: Listing gets bigger and busier

So much for Kenya’s Kibaki/Odinga rivalry derailing the Africa boom.

Kenya’s Safaricom, the largest ever IPO in sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa, was poised to come to market at the end of April, as Euromoney was going to press. Early indications are that the deal, which will be listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, will be heavily subscribed, with data showing that more than 1.5 million investors have placed orders.

The Kenyan government looks set to comfortably raise $800,000 by selling a 25% stake in the mobile phone company. How things change. "In the past, international investors would have demanded a price-to-earnings ratio below 10. Safaricom is at 15, and the money is still coming in," says Ayo Salami, a veteran Africa analyst.

Salami, Nigerian by birth, is helping to set up the Duet Victoire Africa Index fund, one of the latest in a series of Africa funds that have emerged over the past 12 months.

The Kenyan shilling strengthened during the Safaricom IPO. Salami reckons this is thanks to émigré remittances pouring in to take advantage of the offering.

There are a number of sizeable sub-Saharan African IPOs to look forward to this year, mostly from telecom companies.

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