Telkom Shares Decline on Dividend: Johannesburg Mover

Telkom Shares Decline as Dividend Scrapped
The Telkom branded telecommunications tower, center, stands in the Hillbrow district of Johannesburg. Photographer: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg

Telkom SA Ltd., Africa’s biggest fixed-line telephone company, fell 1.8 percent after saying it won’t pay a dividend for the year ended March 31 because it plans to use any funds for expansion.

Telkom declined to 20.30 rand at the close in Johannesburg. The stock has dropped 30 percent this year, the fourth-worst performance on the 162-company FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index.

Increased competition in South Africa and a failed expansion into Nigeria have cut profit excluding one-time items at Africa’s largest fixed-line operator every year since 2006. Telkom has paid dividends each year since 2004, with special cash payments in five of the six years through 2010. A final payout of 1.50 rand was expected, according to Bloomberg dividend estimates. Telkom posted a net loss for fiscal 2012.

“The company has been harvested for a long time and now there is nothing left to harvest,” Simon Fillmore, an analyst at Independent Securities (Pty) Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg. “It has to start growing, and this will take significant capital outlay.”

South Africa’s cabinet decided a week ago to block the planned 2.7 billion-rand ($321 million) sale of 20 percent of Telkom to KT Corp., South Korea’s biggest phone and Internet provider. The government, which owns 40 percent of Telkom, is considering a sale of stock to current Telkom investors or an increase in debt to help fund a return to profit, Communications Minister Dina Pule said on June 5.

The net loss attributable to shareholders in the 12 months through March 31 was 216 million rand versus profit of 1.22 billion rand in fiscal 2011, the company said in a statement today.

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