JOHANNESBURG, June 8 (Reuters) - South Africa’s biggest landline provider, Telkom SA, said on Monday it would pay dividends for the first time in four years as it reported a rise in full-year profit and a decrease in net debt.
Telkom said its headline earnings per share for the year to end-March rose 60 percent to 532.5 cents. Headline earnings are the main profit gauge in South Africa and exclude certain one-off and non-trading items.
It said its net debt decreased 92.8 percent to 151 million rand ($12 million).
Telkom, in which the government owns a stake of about 40 percent, declared an ordinary final dividend of 215 cents per share and a special dividend of 30 cents per share.
“Our strong financial position and healthy cash balances warrant a special dividend as we reintroduce dividend payments for the first time since 2011,” the company said in a statement.
Telkom is in the middle of a turnaround plan that aims to bring down costs and better compete with wireless operators MTN Group and Vodacom.
Telkom has also been trying to make money out of a mobile unit launched four years ago to offset sliding profits from its traditional fixed-line business.
$1 = 12.6292 rand Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Ed Cropley