Liquid Telecom, a pan-African telecommunications company, has announced plans to file for an initial public offering in the next 12 months. This forms part of its plan to expand its network across Africa, including South Africa.
The telecoms company is majority owned by Zimbabwe’s Econet Group. According to Econet’s founder Strive Masiyiwa, Liquid Telecom has decided to list after turning down several multi-billion dollar offers to buy the company.
“We have received several unsolicited offers for Liquid, but we want it to remain an independent access provider for internet in Africa. We are going to raise more capital in market and strengthen its market leadership in this vital space.”
The listing, which will take place in Europe, will be used to raise funds for further infrastructure expansion across Africa, including plans to expand its South African footprint dramatically.
While the company currently only has one fibre route in the country, that links Pretoria to the Zimbabwe border, it intends to invest R250m over the next two years to expand its network across South Africa’s Northern provinces.
“There’s an absolute need for it if you look at demand in places like Polokwane, Tzaneen, Nelspruit, Rustenburg and Mahikeng for true broadband services,” says Willem Marais Marais Liquid Telecom’s South Africa CEO.
Overall the group has built 18,000km of fibre broadband in 15 African countries and provides high-speed broadband to areas that have not previously had reliable internet connections, as demand for increased internet services, such as video streaming, has driven the need for better infrastructure.