Orange has begun preparations for a potential initial public offering (IPO) of its Africa and Middle East unit, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. The firm has been interviewing advisers for the planned share sale, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The sources said Orange is considering potential listing venues including Paris and London, though it has not made a final decision.
Orange could sell shares in the unit as soon as 2020 if it proceeds, but details of the offering are still under discussion, one of the people said. No final decisions have been made, and Orange could pursue other options for the business, according to the people.
IPOs from French companies have raised USD 1.41 billion this year, up from USD 1.26 billion during the same period in 2018, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The company said as far back as 2014 that it was considering a separation of its African assets. as price competition weighed on wireless revenue at home.
A representative for Orange said the creation of a separate Middle East and Africa subsidiary “creates options” for partnerships and all scenarios including an IPO and opening up the unit’s capital can be considered. The priority today is to continue to grow the business, according to the representative.
Orange’s Middle East and Africa unit business reported EUR 1.67 billion of adjusted EBITDA in 2018. It accounted for about 13 percent of the group’s adjusted EBITDA, Orange said in a June investor presentation. Sales from the region rose 5.1 percent in 2018 to EUR 5.2 billion.