Africa’s biggest fibre company raises $840 million in bond sale

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Strive Masiyiwa at a conference in 2016. (Photo by Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Strive Masiyiwa at a conference in 2016. (Photo by Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Liquid Telecom, majority owned by telecoms tycoon Strive Masiyiwa, raised $840 million in a bond sale to refinance debt and expand further into Africa.

The sale was conducted by joint bookrunners JPMorgan Chase & Co., Standard Chartered and Standard Bank Group, Liquid Chief Financial Officer Kate Hennessy said on Thursday by email.

The amount raised includes a $100 million investment by the International Finance Corp.

The offering was 5.5 times oversubscribed, Hennessy said.

“The level of interest from high-quality investors has been unprecedented for an African issuer and reflects an excess of 220 investor orders,” she said. “The order book shows the confidence that investors have in the future growth strategy for the group.”

Liquid has installed more than 70 000 km of fiber across Africa. It operates five data centers in South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda. Demand for higher-speed internet connections and data storage is increasing on the continent as hundreds of millions of people start connecting to the internet, mostly using their mobile phones.

The bond was listed on the Euronext Dublin exchange on Thursday, according to the IFC. The proceeds will be used to pay existing debt and to increase access to broadband services, the company said.

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