Telkom is facing difficult times, but CEO Serame Taukobong has insisted the company “does not need a knight in shining armour” to come riding to its rescue.
In this TechCentral Show (TCS) interview with Taukobong, the Telkom boss provides his views on the interest received from a consortium that includes former CEO Sipho Maseko and Mauritius-based Axian Telecom, as well as MTN Group signalling that it, too, may still be interested in a deal.
MTN walked away from early stage talks with Telkom last year after the latter’s board agreed to entertain a rival offer from wireless broadband provider Rain, which had sought a merger with Telkom.
But this week, during Telkom’s annual results presentation to. Investors, MTN issued a statement in which it said a deal makes sense for shareholders of both entities. In the interview, at the JSE in Sandton, Taukobong answered several pressing questions:
- Without corporate action, can Telkom survive and thrive in the longer term?
- How supportive is government towards a partial or full sale of Telkom?
- How will market consolidation likely happen and can South Africa’s mobile market sustain four infrastructure competitors in Telkom, Vodacom, MTN and Rain?
- Are the retrenchments at Telkom over, or is there still more pain to come?
- What’s the prognosis for capital expenditure at Telkom, and why did mobile spending outpace revenue growth?
- What’s hurting Telkom’s free cash flow (a negative R2.7-billion in the 2023 financial year), and what is management doing to address the problem?
- Does it still make sense for Telkom to own an IT services business?
- What are the plans to unlock shareholder value, especially in Gyro?
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