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Vodacom South Africa now a standalone business

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Vodacom Group said on Thursday it has simplified its structure and created a standalone South African business as it seeks to manage its already expanded African footprint and grow further.

Its shares rose 0.24% after the news, outperforming the wider index, which fell nearly 2%.

South Africa’s biggest telecoms company by value said in a statement it needed the new structure to manage its expanded African portfolio and growth plans on the continent, including financial and digital services.

“For Vodacom Group to play a central role of overseeing all operations across its African footprint, this has necessitated the creation of a standalone South African operating company,” the company said.

The group assumed management responsibility for Vodafone Ghana from April 1 and subsequently concluded a joint venture with Kenya’s Safaricom after buying the M-PESA brand, product development and support services from Vodafone.

Vodacom and Safaricom have also expressed interest in bidding for an Ethiopian telecommunications licence as part of a consortium. Vodacom holds a strategic stake in Safaricom.

The standalone South African business will be managed by Vodafone director Balesh Sharma, currently the director of special projects for the Vodafone Group, which is a majority-owner of Vodacom.

He will report directly to group Chief Executive Shameel Joosub and will join the reconstituted Vodacom Group executive committee with effect from July 1.

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Barbara Lewis)

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