Over­haul of its struc­ture en­vi­sioned

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES -

TELKOM, tak­ing the next step in a four-year turn­around un­der chief ex­ec­u­tive Sipho Maseko, will over­haul its struc­ture to spur profit and may con­sider of­fer­ing stock in some of its units in the fu­ture. A new hold­ing-com­pany for­mat will give greater au­ton­omy to the four main busi­nesses of South Africa’s for­mer phone mo­nop­oly – a re­tail op­er­a­tion of­fer­ing land­line, wire­less and in­ter­net ser­vices, as well as its IT ser­vices, whole­sale broad­band and real es­tate di­vi­sions – peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said. Pre­to­ria-based Telkom, al­most 40 per­cent owned by the gov­ern­ment, could then con­sider stock mar­ket list­ings or sales of the units, said the peo­ple, who asked not to be named be­cause the de­tails aren’t pub­lic. Telkom is creat­ing “more­fo­cused busi­ness units as well as a more lean and fit-for-pur­pose strate­gic cor­po­rate cen­tre,” Maseko said, with­out giv­ing de­tails. While there are no cur­rent plans to list any of the busi­nesses, “that could be a con­sid­er­a­tion in the fu­ture,” he said. The shares lost 0.07 per­cent on the JSE yes­ter­day to close at R73.70, valu­ing the com­pany at R38.84 bil­lion. Maseko is look­ing ahead af­ter re­turn­ing Telkom to profit and over­see­ing a quin­tu­pling in the share price since tak­ing the helm in 2013. The chief ex­ec­u­tive has built up a mo­bile-phone busi­ness to off­set a de­cline in land­line use, and that di­vi­sion re­ported a maiden profit in the half-year to Septem­ber. Bloomberg News re­ported in March that the com­pany planned to spin off the di­vi­sion that holds real es­tate and its mo­bile-phone tow­ers. “The ob­jec­tive re­mains to de­volve more au­ton­omy to the busi­ness units,” Maseko said. – Bloomberg

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