Having come through a nail-biting weekend of last-minute litigation, Vodacom has made its debut on the JSE Securities Exchange – although it still faces the prospect of a consumer boycott driven by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party and a further court challenge by Cosatu.
The company, now formally unbundled from Telkom, started trading on the main board of the JSE at 9:00 this morning, with a price of R59,50 quoted. Since trading opened, its share price has increased by at least 10%.
The listing was marred by Cosatu's interdict application on Thursday and the move on Friday by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to rescind a decision to allow the unbundling and listing to go ahead.
Cosatu and Icasa together brought an urgent court interdict to prevent today's listing, bu the court yesterday (Sunday 17 May) saw the interdict overturned, with costs to be covered by Cosatu and Icasa.
However, the original Cosatu application remains on the court roll, challenging Icasa's right to decide that the transaction did not require its permission to proceed.
Telkom says it will continue to act in accordance with its legal obligations under the transaction agreements and intends to implement the remaining steps of the transaction in accordance with the previously announced timetable.
According to the timetable, shareholders will receive their special dividend for the sale of 15% of Vodacom's shares to Vodafone on 1 June.
Meanwhile, the JSE has reacted positively to Vodacom's listing as a seperate entity.
In its pre-listing statement, Vodacom says it aims to maintain its market position within its existing markets and to expand profitably into new products, services and geographies.
The principal elements of Vodacom’s strategy are to continue to grow core mobile business; lead in broadband and connectivity services; develop new convered ICT solutions; and expand in sub-Saharan Africa.