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S.Africa’s Telkom could open sale of stake in fibre unit by March

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S.Africa's Telkom could open sale of stake in fibre unit by March

South Africa’s Telkom (TKGJ.J) could start the sale of a minority stake in its core fibre business by March, it said on Tuesday, as part of a slew of measures it announced to unlock value and shore up profits, pushing its shares up 7%.

Telkom, which owns a big chunk of the fast growing home and business fibre market, had been a potential acquisition target in the past for the continent’s biggest telecom player MTN (MTNJ.J) with smaller rival rain considering it for a merger.

While both did not pursue the plans, the country’s third biggest telecom player has been looking at options to save costs to improve operating margins at a time when South Africa’s power crisis and inflationary pressures are hurting the company.

Its third-quarter core profit declined by 13.5% as crippling power cuts inflated costs and impacted its service revenue, it reported earlier on Tuesday.

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Telkom said it was in the market to gauge buyer interest and a formal process could be launched by the end of March, adding that the end goal for fibre business Openserve would be to sell a minority stake in it.

It is expecting offers for its tower and masts business also by March.

Telkom, which has spun off its towers and masts and fibre businesses into separate units, has been exploring options to unlock value in these businesses, as management believes that the market is undervaluing them.

Some analysts peg the discount its shares trade at to its actual value at around 40%.

It also announced a cost-saving drive to increase profits which have been impacted by rolling power cuts and high working capital requirements.

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While it did not divulge the specifics of the cost saving drive, Telkom said it aims to cut costs “over the next 6-18 months and return to a blended group EBITDA margin of more than 25%.”

It is also looking to raise 1 billion rand ($55.99 million)through another sales process but said despite the measures, the profitability and free cash flows for the fourth quarter would be under pressure.

In a separate statement, Telkom announced that it was considering a business restructuring process that will impact up to 15% of its 11,898 group workforce.

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Apple CEO says looking into possibility of building manufacturing facility in Indonesia

Apple CEO says looking into possibility of building manufacturing facility in Indonesia

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Apple CEO says looking into possibility of building manufacturing facility in Indonesia

Apple Inc will look into the possibility of building a manufacturing facility in Indonesia, its CEO said on Wednesday after meeting President Joko Widodo.

Apple CEO Tim Cook arrived in Jakarta on Tuesday, after visiting Vietnam. He met with Jokowi, as the president popularly known, and will be inaugurating an academy for Apple developers on the island of Bali.

“We talked about the president’s desire to see manufacturing in the country, and it is something that we will look at,” Cook told reporters after the meeting. 

Apple has based much of its key manufacturing of iPads, AirPods and Apple Watches in Vietnam and suppliers for MacBooks are also investing in the country.

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Apple has no manufacturing facilities in Indonesia but has established four Apple Developer Academies.

Indonesia has a huge tech-savvy population, making the Southeast Asian nation a key target market for tech-related investment.

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TikTok quizzed by EU on TikTok Lite launch in France, Spain

TikTok quizzed by EU on TikTok Lite launch in France, Spain

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TikTok quizzed by EU on TikTok Lite launch in France, Spain

ByteDance’s TikTok has been given 24 hours to provide a risk assessment on its new app TikTok Lite launched this month in France and Spain on concerns of its potential impact on children and users’ mental health, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

The move by EU industry chief Thierry Breton under EU tech rules known as the Digital Services Act (DSA) comes two months after he opened an investigation into TikTok over possible DSA breaches. 

The landmark DSA requires companies to do more to tackle illegal and harmful content on their platforms, with fines of up to 6% of their global annual turnover for violations.

The Commission on Wednesday said it had sent a request for information to TikTok, asking for more details on the risk assessment the social media company should have done before deploying TikTok Lite in the 27-country European Union.

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“This concerns the potential impact of the new ‘Task and Reward Lite’ programme on the protection of minors, as well as on the mental health of users, in particular in relation to the potential stimulation of addictive behaviour,” the EU executive said in a document seen by Reuters.

“TikTok must provide the risk assessment for TikTok Lite in 24 hours and the other requested information by 26 April 2024, after which the Commission will analyse TikTok’s reply, and then assess next steps.”

The Commission also asked for details on measures the company has put in place to mitigate systemic risks.

TikTok Lite, an app with a new functionality aimed at users aged 18+, was launched in France and Spain this month.

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SiTime introduces chip aimed at saving power in AI data centers

SiTime introduces chip aimed at saving power in AI data centers

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SiTime introduces chip aimed at saving power in AI data centers

SiTime (SITM.O) on Wednesday introduced a chip that it says is designed to help data centers built for artificial intelligence applications run more efficiently.

SiTime makes what are known as timing chips, whose job is set a steady beat for all the parts of a computer and keep them running together in sync, like a conductor in an orchestra directing multiple groups of instruments. The company says its new line of chips, called Chorus, can do so with 10 times more precision than older styles of timing chips.

SiTime CEO Rajesh Vashist said the company aims to help customers save electricity with that precision. SiTime’s chips themselves require less than a watt of power, but powerful AI chips such as Nvidia’s (NVDA.O) require more than 1,000 watts of power.

With a more precise clock to keep all the elements of a computer in sync, parts of the machine can be turned off for a few milliseconds at a time when they are not in use. Over the multiple years a power-hungry data center server might be in use, it can generate energy savings, though the amount will depend on how SiTime’s chips are used.

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“We deliver timing that they can rely on so that they can wake up their products and bring data more efficiently to them, rather than just running more often,” Vashist said in an interview.

SiTime said the chips will be available in the second half of this year.

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