Telkom shareholders approve Vodacom sale

Telkom shareholders have agreed to sell 15% of the company’s stake in cellphone company Vodacom to the United Kingdom-based Vodafone Group, Telkom said on Friday.

The R22,5-billion deal will usher in a new era for the Telkom Group, chief executive officer Reuben September said in a statement.

”We have identified a need to improve our competitive ability in the mobile space, but have been prohibited from doing so by the shareholders’ agreement, which had placed severe restrictions on us,” he said.

The sale will result in Telkom listing its remaining 35% in Vodacom and distributing the shares to Telkom shareholders by way of an unbundling.

September said the shareholders’ agreement had prevented Telkom from offering mobile voice services in South Africa, and expanding into Africa, south of the equator.

”The rapid pace of change in communications technology meant that the inability to deliver mobile and converged services had blunted Telkom’s competitiveness.

”Yesterday’s shareholders’ approval means that we are now truly free to compete so that we are able to maintain our leadership position in South Africa while building a strong footprint on the continent,” he said.

Telkom would now focus on executing strategies in mobile services, integrated solutions and the providing converged fixed-line, mobile and data solutions.

”With the proceeds from the sale of our Vodacom stake, Telkom will be able to speed up investments to execute its strategy,” September said. — Sapa

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