Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Telkom raised R1bn in its first debt issue of the year as the country’s biggest landline provider looks to invest in its network and take on rivals, including MTN and Vodacom.

After a five-year hiatus, Telkom started selling debt again in 2017 and has raised R4.3bn from nine bonds in 12 months.

Telkom has significantly increased capital expenditure in recent years to focus on its cellphone business, which reported a maiden profit in 2016 as landline use declines. It has sold bonds to diversify its funding sources and reduce the cost of borrowing, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

While Telkom’s cellphone business trails MTN, Vodacom and Cell C, the unit is adding customers and needs investment to cope with the additional traffic. This has put some strain on the company’s cash reserves. The operator is also expanding in broadband services, especially to corporate customers, following the acquisition of Business Connexion in 2016.

Monday’s bond sales included a R654m floating-rate note maturing in March next year and a R346m bond with a 7.84% coupon, maturing on September 21.

Telkom shares rose 0.4% to R52.29 as of 1.59pm in Johannesburg, valuing the company at R26.7bn.

Bloomberg