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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 May, 2005, 20:36 GMT 21:36 UK
Telkom in black empowerment deal
Telkom network control centre
Telkom operates telecom services across South Africa
A South African black investment group is to buy a 10.1% stake in the county's biggest phone company, Telkom.

The Elephant consortium said it was committing 40m rand ($6.7m; 3.5m) of its capital to the stock acquisition.

The deal is part of the policy of black economic empowerment, which seeks to ensure the black majority holds a greater share of South Africa's wealth.

Elephant consortium head Andile Ngcaba described the deal as a milestone for black entrepreneurs.

'National asset

The remainder of the deal will be funded by banking groups Nedbank and Absa and the South African state asset manager the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

"A group of entrepreneurial black investors have worked together to acquire a stake in a strategic national asset, ensuring in the process that the bulk of the benefit will accrue to a broad base," said Mr Ngcaba.

He said a portion of the annual dividends paid by Telkom to investors would be used by the consortium to fund community development projects.

The consortium will buy the 10.1% Telkom stake from PIC, which itself bought a 15.1% stake in the telecoms company for 6.6bn rand in anticipation of Thursday's deal.

Telkom is one of South Africa's biggest companies, and offers fixed-line voice and data services. It is also the majority owner of the country's biggest mobile phone operator, Vodacom.

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