On the Money – In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

-Telkom’s revenues from voice telephony plummeted in the past year, falling by 19,1% to R6,9bn. The fall was only partly offset by a 14,9% increase in data revenues.In the six months to 30 September 2010, Telkom’s overall fixed-line traffic volumes fell 10,8% to 10,5bn minutes, from 11,8bn minutes previously. Local call traffic fell 20,2% to 2,9bn minutes. And international outgoing calls fell even more precipitously, down 22,5% year-on-year, to 238m minutes.It wasn’t all bad news for Telkom, as data revenue increased partly on the back of growth in digital subscriber lines. The number of DSL users climbed 16% to 699 368 by the end of September, from 602 720 a year ago.And Telkom has continued to enjoy success in signing up customers to its calling plans. The number of “Closer” subscribers surged 17% to 762 070.Telkom says the interim results “paint a picture of an organisation under pressure”.Group revenue fell 5,4% to R17,6bn, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was down 0,6% to R5,1bn, and profit from continuing operations fell 9,3% to R1,4bn.The introduction of 8ta, Telkom’s new mobile service, is meant to provide it with an “essential tool for retaining and growing our customer base”.

- JSE-listed outsourcing specialist, the Dialogue Group, has sold its 51% stake in disaster recovery firm ContinuitySA for R35m.CoroCapital, the investment banking firm and subsidiary of Coronation, will take a 49% stake. ContinuitySA staff and management have acquired the other 2%.The deal is still subject to several conditions, including a due diligence investigation and approval from the JSE.Dialogue has faced difficult times in recent months, including the voluntary liquidation of its primary subsidiary, Dialogue SA.The group has also sold its 51% stake in call centre recruitment business Callforce. ContinuitySA CEO Allen Smith says the company has been in discussions with CoroCapital for some time.As part of the proposed transaction, the directors of ContinuitySA have agreed to declare a special dividend of R4m, payable to current shareholders. Of this amount, R2,04m will accrue to Dialogue based on its 51% ordinary shareholding.  

- India’s Bharti Airtel has said that it will not delist its Zambian subsidiary, Reuters is reporting, citing comments made by Manoj Kohli, chief executive of Bharti’s international business. Having acquired around 78% of Airtel Zambia, which was formally rebranded with its new parent moniker earlier this week, Bharti has offered minority shareholders in the unit ZMK710 (USD0.15) per share in order to meet a local legal requirement that says smaller stakeholders must be given the opportunity to sell up when there is a change in the majority owner. Mr Kohli, however, has said that not many of the minority shareholders are expected to sell, noting: ‘We do not have any intention to delist. Of course some shareholders will sell their shares, but many of them will stay on ... We are committed to Zambia in the long term and hope more of our shareholders will stay with us.’ Under Lusaka bourse regulations, a company has to delist if a single shareholder owns more than 95%.