Questions are swirling after Telkom said this week that, for the first time since its listing on the JSE in March 2003, it will not hold a presentation to talk about its interim financial results, which are due to be published on Monday.
The results presentations, held every six months to coincide with the publication of the group’s interim and annual results, are keenly attended by journalists, analysts and investors, who have the opportunity to ask questions of the group’s senior management team.
Though Telkom is not required under JSE listing regulations to hold a results presentation, it’s common practice for big listed companies to do so. Telkom’s listed peers, Vodacom and MTN, organise presentations, which are well attended, every time they report their numbers.
It’s therefore highly unusual that Telkom has decided not to hold a presentation for its results for the six-month period to the end of September 2011 and the move is likely to prompt speculation — rightly or wrongly — about the reasons for its decision.
“Telkom is sending the wrong message by doing this,” says Irnest Kaplan, MD of Kaplan Equity Analysts. “It’s the wrong decision because it sends the wrong message to investors.”
Kaplan says he doesn’t think Telkom has anything to hide and has “faced tough questions” at its results presentations in the past, so he doesn’t understand what motivated the decision. He says holding results presentations is “good practice”.
A Telkom spokesman explains there is a “renewed focus on implementation in the various divisions of the business and an increase in the pace and momentum of delivery” and, as such, the leadership team has “limited available time given the requirement to embark on a roadshow to discuss issues with shareholders”.
The spokesman says Telkom “respects the interests of all its stakeholders, including shareholders, customers and the media, and supports their right to have access to essential information about the company”.
“The company has ensured that detailed information regarding its interim results is widely available and easily accessible,” he says. “The entire results booklet will be posted on the company’s website for public perusal on Monday, and a Sens announcement and media release will be issued on the day.”
Instead of giving a presentation, Telkom has elected to hold a conference call at 4.30pm on Monday. However, only institutional investors have been invited to participate in the call. Media and individual investors have not been invited to call in. Telkom has, however, emphasised that its management team, including group CEO Nombulelo Moholi, is still available for media interviews to discuss the results, subject to availability.
Telkom’s spokesman says the reason the teleconference call is being restricted to institutional investors is that the facilities “do not allow for an unlimited number of callers to be placed into the conference”.
“All Telkom’s shareholders, including individual shareholders, are at liberty to contact the company’s investor relations personnel directly at any time.” — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral
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