Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko has said the company would consider spinning off its property assets. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko has said the company would consider spinning off its property assets. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

Telkom’s mooted unbundling of its vast property portfolio, which is worth more than two-thirds of the group itself, makes the network operator a “buy”, a prominent asset manager says.

Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko told Business Day in November the company would consider spinning off its property assets, which have an insured value of R24bn, as a “mega” real-estate investment trust (Reit).

The group’s Gyro subsidiary manages Telkom’s portfolio of 1,332 properties, including offices, client-service centres, residential dwellings and land parcels. It has earmarked 40 properties for development, including housing projects.

Maseko said at the time Telkom had been looking for ways “to unlock value because if you look at Telkom’s valuation, the property value is not reflected in our share price”.

Cannon Asset Managers CEO Adrian Saville said in a note on Monday he expected Gyro’s portfolio to be separately listed within the next 12 months.

“This spin-off would represent a substantial capital recognition for shareholders, releasing R45 in property assets to add to the current market price of R64,” Saville said.

The network operator’s shares were 0.5% higher at R68.93 on Monday morning, giving it a market capitalisation of R35bn. 

The company was trading at a price-earnings ratio of 10.5 with a 5.6% dividend yield, Saville said. 

“Telkom displays utility-like attributes in terms of performance, with a return on assets of 9.2% per annum and return on equity of 11.7% per annum. This makes for a reasonable investment,” he said.

Saville also recommended JSE-listed investment holding company Sabvest as a “buy”.

He said the global equity selloff in 2018 meant valuations were now more attractive.

“While you could top up your portfolio with a world equity index trading at 13.5 times forward earnings or a German equity tracker offering a euro-based dividend yield of 3.5%, you might also have a look at specific stocks that offer excellent upside potential.”

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za