Orange Gears Up For African IPO

Orange SA, France’s leading phone company, has chosen Morgan Stanley and BNP Paribas SA to assist as advisors on a proposed initial public offering of its Middle East and Africa division, according to people familiar with the matter.

The banks will help Orange prepare for the listing; however, an underwriting syndicate has not yet been formalised.

Orange seeks to invite more banks to join in at a later stage.

The deal is expected to be one of the biggest listings in the Middle East and Africa in 2020.

Just like Helios Towers Plc and Bharti Airtel’s Africa unit, the company is looking to reach a wider investor base and also raise capital for expansion.

Deliberations are still at an early stage, and Orange may decide against pursuing the listing, according to the sources. Representatives from Morgan Stanley and BNP Paribas have so far declined to comment.

Orange mentioned in a statement that it had placed all its Middle East and Africa activities into a separate entity to allow the opportunity for growth. The statement said that an IPO was one potential scenario, but the ultimate decision would depend on the option that would best accelerate the company’s growth.

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