The regional stock exchange Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) saw an old year with the listing of shares of telephone company Orange Côte d’Ivoire on December 30 for trading on the exchange. This follows the largest initial public offering (IPO) on the exchange, which raised XOF 141.0 billion ($233 million).

The listing came after the government sold a 9.95% stake in the telecom operator through an offer of 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 Orange CI.

On the first day of trading, the price (ticker: ORAC) rose to 10,210 XOF and closed at 10,200 XOF on January 13.

BRVM CEO Edoh Kossi Amenounvé commented on the listing: “There is no happier event for the stock market than the listing of a new company, especially in a context where this type of operation is increasingly rare.

Mr. Amenounvé previously said the IPO “will show other state-owned companies that it is important to come to market. This is privatization by the government of Ivory Coast, which will be an example for other countries in our region. He said 80 to 100 state-owned companies across the region could be listed.

“Given the situation our governments are facing in terms of raising capital in the international market, they may now look to raise capital through privatisation. We have been waiting for this IPO for many years.”

The government first announced in 2016 that it would sell part of its 14.95% stake in Orange CI, which was created through a merger with fixed-line operator Côte d’Ivoire Telecom. The listing ceremony was presided over by the Minister of Economy and Finance of the Ivory Coast, Adama Coulibaly.

This gave the company a total market capitalization (value of listed shares) of XOF 1.54 trillion ($2.5 billion). This is very similar to the value of shares listed for SONATEL, another subsidiary of Orange, based in Senegal. These two telecommunications companies account for approximately 40% of BRVM’s total market capitalization.

MTN was the largest mobile operator in Côte d’Ivoire with a 39% market share, while Orange CI had a 35.5% share and Onatel, a subsidiary of Moov Africa (formerly Maroc Telecom, part of the e& group formerly Etisalat), had 25.5%.

It is the second IPO on BRVM in three years. NAS Ivoire Holding, also known as Menzies Aviation, launched its IPO in November and was due to end in December.

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