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Tata's S.African Neotel unit turns profitable for first time

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Neotel, the South African unit of Tata Communications (TATA.NS), said on Wednesday it made a pre-tax profit for the first time in its seven-year history after growing revenue by 21 percent.

Chief Executive Sunil Joshi said in a statement Neotel's sales growth was at least 12 times that of the industry growth rate, despite price erosion and lethargic uptake of fixed lines.

Tata is in exclusive talks to sell the unlisted fixed-line and data unit to South Africa's biggest mobile provider Vodacom (VODJ.J) in a potential $590 million deal.