South African fixed-line phone company Telkom SA Ltd reported close to a 40 percent fall in first-half profit on Monday as both its domestic and Nigerian units struggled, sending its shares tumbling.

Telkom, Africa's biggest fixed-line operator, said on Monday headline earnings per share fell 37.9 percent to 242.2 cents in the six months to end-September, in line with forecast range of a 45-55 percent fall.

Shares in the company dropped more than 5 percent shortly after the results, but had pared losses to 1.52 percent, by 1244 GMT to 39 rand.

The company said both its South African and Nigerian units were under pressure, with the former hit by higher operating costs and the latter by pricing pressures.

Telkom, which also operates in Kenya and Namibia, said its core business would remain competitive in its key markets.

I am confident that the strength inherent in the fixed-line network ... will allow us to offer our markets simple, quality, cost effective services that will be competitive in our markets, Chief Executive Officer Reuben September said.

Telkom has seen revenue at its core fixed-line business come under pressure, after spinning off and selling its stake in Vodacom, its main earnings driver.

(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng)