By Duncan Mlanjira
Airtel Malawi officially listed on Malawi Stock Exchange on Monday February 24, 2020 and by close of business its shares had gone up by 44 percent from the K12.69 that was offered through the Initial Public Offer (IPO) to K17.99 per share.
This was disclosed on Monday evening at a cocktail held at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre to celebrate the official listing with various clients and stakeholders where Airtel Malawi’s Managing Director Charles Kamoto its listing should be celebrated as a form of transforming the country’s economy since now it is owned by the public.
He applauded the new shareholders who took the bold step to invest in the company despite many negative responses from the general public through social media that advocated against the idea of buying shares in Airtel.
“But there was a majority of people who had faith in us and joined us in support to impress on the public to have trust in this business venture,” Kamoto said.
“The public has given their faith in us and we shall endeavour to continue doing good business as we have always done throughout the years — that is to provide the best services.
“As a business, Airtel Malawi plc has a clear ambition that guides and drives us on a daily basis — to win customers for life through delivering an exceptional experience that is convenient, affordable and enables the lifestyle evolution”.
“This means that our network infrastructure has to be able to connect people to one another and to the outside world and it has to enable businesses, education and entertainment.
“This is no easy task and one which we firmly believe if we are able to continuously achieve will drive the business growth that we promise and the dividends that you as shareholders expect.”
Kamoto pledged that for Airtel to remain relevant it needs to ensure that it is ahead of its changes and that is why it always talks of delivering a supply-led demand strategy which is has made good progress on many fronts and will continue to do so.
“We have invested significantly in our network as you are aware that all our sites aren 100 percent 4G and this investment will continue as we cannot afford to be complacent.
“Delivery requires that we have the right talent and leadership to guide our employees because our people are at the heart of ensuring we deliver superior services to customers.
“I am fortunate that Airtel is led by a diverse management team with multi-territory experience and the strength and capability to execute challenging projects.”
Kamoto assured the new shareholders that they have placed their investment in safe hands and with the able guidance of its board of directors, led by Alex Chitsime, they will deliver on the promises made.
In his remarks, Chitsime said the Airtel brand is a household name and that since its inception in 1999 it has been ingrained in the fiber of Malawi’s economy and contributing significantly to the GDP by employing over 20,000 people directory or indirectly.
“We have firmly aligned ourselves to the aspirations of Malawi’s local communities and our operational capabilities has supported the Government’s efforts to develop the ICT sector.
“Specific to local communities, Airtel’s social investment activities support the education and health sectors, in acknowledgment of the vital role they play in the alleviation of poverty and the promotion of social cohesion.”
Chitsime said he was proud to be associated with one key Airtel innovation, which is Mchikumbe 212 Agri Info, which was launched in 2015 and has since provided local farmers with practical information on agriculture.
“To date, this services has 780,000 registered farmers, 84 percent of which have reported increased production due to the information from the service that aims at improving their farming techniques resulting in more food-secure households and more income for the farmers.”
He also took recognizance that Airtel supports environmental and conservation effort and also supports youth initiatives such as sponsoring the football tournament, the Airtel Top 8 since 2017.
When he became chairman of the board, Chitsime found 2.3 million subscribers been serviced through 531 2GB sites and 187 3GB sites but by end of 2018, the number increased to over 4 million subscribers.
“Similarly, we have not only increased the number of sites to 792 but we have invested in their upgrade to ensure that all these sites are 4G — completely transforming the ICT landscape in the country.
“Through this significant investment in infrastructure, Airtel is able to provide it 1.3 million data customers with excellent data services even in remote and isolated areas like Chizumulu Island.
“We are operating in an increasingly challenging world with ever changing demands and the need for data continues to increase.”
This listing complies with Section 35 of the Communications Act of 2016, Regulation 26 (2) of the Communications (Telecommunications and Broadcasting Licensing) Regulations of 2016 and Clause 42.2 of the subsidiary’s operating licence, which requires the company to have at least 20 percent local Malawian shareholding.