6. EQUITY
6.1 Share capital
 

Ordinary shares are classified as equity and the shares are fully paid up.

Shares acquired by Blue Label Telecoms for its own employees' equity compensation benefit scheme, as well as the shares procured by the subsidiaries in terms of this scheme, are accounted for as treasury shares in the Group statement of financial position.

   2023 
Number 
of shares 
2022 
Number 
of shares 
Authorised       
Total authorised share capital of ordinary shares (no par value) 2 000 000 000  2 000 000 000 
Issued       
Balance at the beginning of the year  876 782 473  876 772 658 
Shares acquired during the year  (9 973 803) (1 442 247)
Shares vested during the year  16 764 722  1 452 062 
Balance at the end of the year  883 573 392  876 782 473 
Total number of shares in issue  913 655 874  913 655 874 
Treasury shares  (30 082 482) (36 873 401)

The Company acquired 10 575 666 (2022: 1 955 484) shares at an average price of R6.58 (2022: R6.48) on the JSE in order to grant forfeitable shares to employees and Directors as part of the Group's forfeitable share plan. Of the total shares acquired, 9 973 803 (2022: 1 442 247) related to shares awarded to employees of subsidiary companies in terms of the equity-settled forfeitable share plan, which are held as treasury shares and accounted for against share premium. The remaining shares of 601 863 (2022: 513 237) related to shares awarded to employees of associate companies in terms of their cash-settled forfeitable share plan and are not considered to be treasury shares of the Group.

The amount paid to acquire the treasury shares was R66.0 million (2022: R9.3 million) and has been deducted from shareholders' equity.

Refer to note 5.1 for details on the forfeitable shares.