A Vodacom shop at the Kloof Village Mall was targeted by a group of robbers. File picture: Dumisani Sibeko/Independent Media

Johannesburg - Vodacom Group’s Tanzania unit received regulatory approval to extend the deadline of its share sale for three weeks, allowing investors more time to take part in the country’s biggest initial public offering to date.

The offer will now expire on May 11, Ian Ferrao, managing director of the Vodacom-owned business, said in a statement on Tuesday. The extension will give retail and institutional investors more time to take part, he said.

“Vodacom Tanzania expects a continued influx of applications for shares during the course of this week,” Ferrao said.

Vodacom, the Johannesburg-based operation UK’s Vodafone Group, is offering 476 billion shillings ($213 million) of shares in the mobile operator after the government ordered all telecommunications companies in the country to sell at least a 25 percent stake on the Dar es Salaam exchange to boost domestic ownership. Once completed, the sale will boost the bourse’s capitalisation by at least 2.4 percent to about 20.7 trillion shillings, according to data on its website.

‘Unfavorable timing’

The final listing is now expected by June 6, Ferrao said. On April 14, Fortius Rutabingwa, head of market research at adviser Orbit Securities Ltd., said the IPO is undersubscribed.

Tanzania’s telecommunications industry was worth about $996 million by the end 2016, Vodacom said in its prospectus, citing estimates by International Data Corporation.

Read also: Vodacom Tanzania moves ahead with listing

Vodacom posted a 9 percent decline in profit last year to 29.1 billion shillings, following a 75 percent drop in 2015. Growth was underpinned by the data and mobile-money payment segments, which grew by 23.7 percent and 10.5 percent respectively, while voice revenue fell by 4 percent.

“The timing of this mandatory IPO has been unfavorable for Vodacom primarily due to current poor liquidity in the market and also coming on the heels of the company trying to recover from a period of financial downturn that started in 2014,” said Nathan Chiume, an independent stocks analyst.