Vodacom happy with first day of trading

Monday, May 18, 2009

Johannesburg - The Vodacom Group is pleased with the level of trade on its first day on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Vodacom was listed on the JSE as of 9am on Monday with shares opening at R59.50 and at around 10.30, it was selling at R64.95.

"We are happy with the level of trading," Chief Communications Officer of Vodacom Group Dot Field told BuaNews.

The company was listed following a failed urgent court interdict by the trade union federation Cosatu and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to stop Telkom's sale of 15 percent of Vodacom to Vodafone in the United Kingdom.

Vodafone would through the deal increase its share in Vodacom from the 50 percent it already held to 65 percent, giving Vodafone full control of Vodacom.

It was this deal that led to Vodacom listing as one of the largest South African companies on the JSE this morning.

Cosatu and Icasa were opposed by the Department of Communications, Vodacom, Telkom and Vodafone.

According to the Vodacom Group, it received a letter from Icasa on Friday stating that it was withdrawing its previous decision and that the matter only required notification rather than prior approval from Icasa.

The authority also wished to hold public hearings relating to the matter in June.

Ms Field explained that the deal would be a positive move for South Africa.

"It's a huge cash injection of foreign currency for South Africa. It shows the investment community that South Africa is a great vehicle for investment."

With regard to fears by Cosatu that the deal would result in job losses, Ms Field said: "One must remember that all parties are in agreement with government's condition that no jobs will be lost. This is a positive thing for the country and also staff who form part of a global company."

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said the union was disappointed about the listing and that it was looking at ways to boycott Vodacom.

In its application, Cosatu said there should be public consultation before the regulator could approve the deal, as it feared job losses.

"Our view hasn't changed. We are looking at ways to oppose the listing as the deal is likely to see South Africa's industrial infrastructure sold off. We are likely to see job cuts," Mr Craven said.

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