Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, January 8,
2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced today that it
will support the initial public offering of Onatel, Burkina Faso’s incumbent
telecom operator. The IPO, which was launched on December 22, 2008 and
will remain open January 31, 2009, is the first by a Burkinabe company.
It will attract private investment to the country and develop domestic
and regional capital markets.
IFC plans to purchase up to a five percent stake in Onatel at the public
offering price. The investment will come after IFC earlier this year committed
a €7.5 million ($10.5 million equivalent) loan to support the upgrade
of Onatel’s fixed and mobile networks. The investments are part of IFC’s
commitment to help develop a competitive telecommunications market, increase
connectivity, and improve business efficiency in Burkina Faso.
“IFC’s global expertise in telecommunications and capital markets makes
it a valuable partner in this historic offering,” said Amadou Dicko, Permanent
Secretary of Burkina Faso’s Commission for Privatization. “IFC’s confidence
in Onatel’s economic prospects will attract local and international investors
to Burkina Faso’s nascent capital markets,” added Alexis Lourgo, Managing
Director at Societe Burkinabe d’Intermediation Financiere, which is managing
the Onatel public offering.
IFC’s participation in the IPO is designed to not displace any private
investors. IFC plans to purchase up to a five percent stake in Onatel by
buying any shares not subscribed to in the offering. If all shares
are sold, the government plans to sell IFC an additional three percent
stake in Onatel at the offering price.
Onatel’s privatization began in 2006, when Burkina Faso’s government
sold a 51 percent stake to Morocco’s Itissalat Al-Maghrib S.A. (Maroc
Telecom). The government will sell a further 20 percent of Onatel’s capital
in the offering.
“IFC is committed to supporting an improved telecommunications infrastructure
in Burkina Faso due to the enormous overall development impact it can encourage,”
said Yolande Duhem, IFC Director for Western and Central Africa. “Onatel’s
public offering will set standards and deepen domestic and regional equity
markets so that private businesses can have better access to capital.”
IFC’s support of Onatel’s IPO comes after IFC became the first nonresident
institution to issue a bond denominated in West African francs in 2006,
helping develop West Africa’s local currency bond market. Burkina Faso
is one of eight countries that use the West African franc.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation
services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2
billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For
more information, visit www.ifc.org.