* Visafone to pay an enterprise value of $52 mln
* Telkom retains fibre network, fixed-line unit in Nigeria
* Shares up 2.24 pct
(Adds analyst comments, background)
By Gugulakhe Lourie
JOHANNESBURG, April 1 Africa's largest telephone
group Telkom (TKGJ.J) is selling part of its loss-making
Multi-Links operation in Nigeria for $52 million to Visafone
Communications, sending its shares higher.
South Africa-based Telkom paid $330 million three years ago
for the Nigerian business which posted an operating loss of 262
million rand ($37.42 million) in the six months to
Telkom said on Friday it will retain Multi-Links' fibre
network and fixed-line units in Nigeria.
"The prospects of (Telkom) growth are much better now that
they have shed the luggage," said Dobek Pater, a telecoms
analyst at Africa Analysis.
"The upside for Telkom looked more rosier and that's why the
share price is reacting positively."
Shares in Telkom, valued at about 20 billion rand, rose
2.24 percent to 37.83 rand by 1420 GMT, outpacing a flat JSE
Top-40 index .JTOPI.
Asked about the price paid by Visafone, Pater said: "I think
overall (Telkom) are selling from a back foot position, because
they are taking quite a knock in this transaction in relation to
the premium they paid when buying this business."
Telkom said Visafone, established by Jim Ovia, the
co-founder of Nigeria's Zenith Bank Plc (ZENITHB.LG), will pay
for the mobile unit via a number of transaction steps.
The unit is one of four mobile operators using the CDMA
technology platform in a market dominated by the rival GSM
standard and has been struggling in recent years.
Multi-Links' CDMA business had 1.9 million users in the six
months to end-September, down 8.4 percent.
(Reporting by Gugulakhe Lourie; Editing by David Cowell)