Econet Group is planning to list its shares in Botswana mobile operator Mascom on the country's stock exchange via an initial public offering (IPO) according to Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet Group.
Addressing journalists in Gaborone, Masiyiwa said the listing could be the biggest ever recorded on the Botswana Stock Exchange and the shares could be sold for as low as 100 pulas (less than US$10).
"In what I hope will be the biggest public listing ever undertaken in Botswana, I want to sell shares to anyone who can raise about 100 pula ($9.36)," he said.
Founded by Masiyiwa in 1998 a few months before the establishment of Econet Wireless in Zimbabwe, Mascom has grown to become Botswana's largest mobile operator with about 1.7 million subscribers.
In March 2019, Econet Group increased its stake in Mascom from 7% to 60% after it acquired 53% stake in the company from MTN Group.
The deal is still awaiting regulatory approval but would make Econet Group the majority shareholder in Mascom.
It would be recalled that in March 2019, MTN Group expressed its willingness to offload its 53% stake in Mascom due to its failure to gain management and branding control over the company.
Masiyiwa said the original plan was to list by 2001 - three years after launch.
"Unfortunately, I did not have enough shareholders to get things done and my partners reiterated that we had to wait. I have come to fulfill this promise and with 1.7 million customers, I call them all to prepare to become shareholders, " said Masiyiwa.
Industry experts said the operator's strong status in the telecoms positions it for a successful IPO.
With 1.7 million subscribers, Mascom controls more than half of Botswana's telecom market. Botswana has a population of 2.3 million and Mascom's IPO is expected to catch investors' attention considering the proposed low cost of a share and Masiyiwa's direct pitch to individuals.
"I want to sell shares to thousands of ordinary people in Botswana. As soon as we complete the acquisition of the MTN shares, I have already instructed our management to begin a sale process to ordinary Botswana citizens."