London-based Chimera invests $50 million in Airtel Money

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Airtel Africa PLC said London-based real estate firm, Chimera Investment, has ploughed in $50 million into its mobile money business, Airtel Mobile Commerce BV, through secondary purchase of shares.

AMC BV, the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations, is ultimately intended to own and run the mobile money unit across all of the telco’s fourteen operating countries on the continent.

Airtel made the disclosure on Thursday in a notice signed by the group company secretary, Simon O’Hara, posted by the Nigerian Exchange Limited and seen by PREMIUM TIMES.

In November, three investors, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), TPG, a U.S. and Mastercard raised their investments in Airtel Money to $500 million, having previously completed the first round of investments on 18 March, 1 April and 30 July respectively.

Chimera Investment LLC, by the announcement, joins the three to hold minority interests, while Airtel Africa retains the majority stake in the entity.

“The transaction is a continuation of the group’s pursuit of strategic asset monetisation and investment opportunities, and it is the aim of Airtel Africa to explore the potential listing of the mobile money business within four years,” the notice said.

“The proceeds from the transaction will be used to reduce Group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries. The profits before tax in the full year ended 31 March 2021 and the value of gross assets as of that date, attributable to Airtel Africa’s mobile money businesses were $185 million and $668 million respectively.”

Airtel lost the bid for the 5G spectrum licence auctioned by the Nigerian government to rivals MTN and Mafab Communications Limited on Monday after eleven rounds of fierce contention. The commission fixed the reserve price at $197.4 million but the winners got it at $273 million.

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