Telkom share price takes a knock ahead of payouts

TELKOM'S share price plunged yesterday ahead of the company paying out special dividends of R2billion.

Telkom opened 10percent weaker on the JSE with news of the payouts, primarily from its recent sale of its Vodacom stake.

Next Monday the company will fork out 260 cents a share to shareholders up to 10 July along with its ordinary dividend payout.

Telkom is now trading "ex-div" - meaning the share value minus dividend - and dropped from R43 a share on Friday to about R39 yesterday.

While the payouts will be made next week, investors buying shares this week will not receive anything.

Adding to the parastatal's woes was the recent downgrading by Bank of America-Merryl Lynch, which dropped the company's rating from "neutral" to "underperform".

The markets are also sceptical of Telkom's prospects, given that it has sold off Vodacom and halted many of it capital expenditure projects, while its Nigerian subsidiary, Multi-Links, continues to lose money.

Telkom spokesperson Ajith Bridgraj said an ordinary and special dividend would be paid next week amounting to R1,95billion.

The special dividend of 260 cents a share amounted to R1,35billion and the ordinary dividend of 115 cents added R600million to the total.