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Telkom may split company

Technology

Johannesburg - Telkom plans to break out its telecommunications towers and real estate assets into a separate unit that may then be listed on a stock market, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The new entity would be run by a new, property-focused management team charged with generating extra revenue for Africa’s biggest landline provider, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.

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Pretoria-based Telkom has one of the largest real estate portfolios in South Africa and CEO Sipho Maseko wants it to contribute more to earnings, they said.

The move extends a turnaround strategy at the former phone monopoly under Maseko, who has cut costs and helped to engineer a near quadrupling of the stock price in his four years at the helm.

Read also: Telkom sets sights on Cell C's debt

The workforce has been reduced by about half to 12 000 people and the wireless unit is now profitable.

The creation of the property business is part of the next phase of Maseko’s strategy, which will involve an examination of each of the company’s operations, said one of the people.

The shares rose 0.9 percent to R73.68 as of 12:34 p.m. in Johannesburg on Monday, valuing the company at R38.8 billion.

The business is about 39 percent owned by the South African government.

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