Seoul – Top fixed-line and broadband internet operator KT Corp. has said it plans to buy back US$331.7 million worth of its shares and cancel them to boost shareholder value. The move comes ahead of KT’s planned merger with affiliate KTF Co., the nation’s second-ranked mobile carrier. The date of the buyback will be set “as soon as possible” by a board of directors, KT said. The company added it will stick with its existing policy of distributing 50 percent or more of annual net profit to shareholders, even after it merges with KTF. The Korea Communications Commission, South Korea’s anti-trust watchdog, is expected to determine its stance on the planned merger soon. KT controls some 90 percent of the country’s fixed-line telephony market and has over 12 million broadband internet subscribers, while KTF commands a third of the nation’s mobile market. The merger is expected to create a communications giant that can compete with No. 1 mobile carrier SK Telecom, which acquired No. 2 broadband operator Hanarotelecom Inc. last year.