Three executives leave profitable Telkom

Three Telkom executives who objected to the appointment of chief executive Papi Molotsane have left the company.

Molotsane made the announcement on Monday at the presentation of Telkom’s results for the six months ended September 30.

He suspended sales and marketing executive Pinky Moholi, investor relations officer Belinda Williams and human-resources executive Oupa Magashule in September after they objected to his appointment.

The three raised concerns about Telkom’s management reshuffle and threatened legal action over changes to their conditions of employment three weeks into Molotsane’s tenure—causing a dip in Telkom’s share price.

They reportedly viewed him as a telecommunications novice and a political appointee.

“As of a few minutes ago, the issue has been resolved,” Molotsane said on Monday.

“When I first came to this job, there were media reports that I had had a baptism of fire. But these are things you have to accept. I had to take action with regard to the three executives.

“Now we have agreed to part ways amicably.
That issue has been resolved.”

Analysts have raised concerns that the three will be employed by the second national operator, which has yet to get off the ground.

Telkom has performed well since the suspensions, said Molotsane. It has an abundance of skills in the sales, human-resources and investor-relations departments, he said.

Profit

Telkom’s net profit for the six months to September 30 was R4,2-billion.

Molotsane said the profit came from strong mobile- and data-revenue growth, and cost reductions in the fixed-line business.

Vodacom, of which Telkom owns 50%, also increased its customer base and contributed to the profit.

“The second half of the financial year will be characterised by a profound focus on customer service excellence and acceleration of broadband adoption,” Molotsane said.

Among others, Telkom plans to introduce self-install ADSL internet packages to help it cope with growth in the six months of 161% to 95 290 connections.

Molotsane said Telkom’s operating expenses for the period were R16,2-billion, its operation revenue R23,4-billion and headline earnings per share 775,9 cents—a 35% increase. Cash generated from operations was R8,6-billion.

The company repurchased shares to the value of R1,5-billion.

On Telkom’s plans to enter Africa, Molotsane said the company is doing its due-diligence report on entering Nigeria, with the 51% purchase of the telecommunications company Nitel.

“If it makes no business sense, then we will not go in there,” he said.

Vodacom backed out of the deal to buy into Nitel in September, saying it preferred to invest in a purely mobile player.—Sapa

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