Johannesburg - South Africa’s largest media and e-commerce
company, Naspers [JSE:NPN], is aiming for 20% revenue growth this year, but
sees modest profit increases because of development costs, chief executive Koos
Bekker said on Wednesday.
"We will probably keep growing the top line quite
nicely at around 20% or so, but the profit line will be flat because we tend to
spend quite a lot in developing our own services," he told Reuters in a
Naspers on Wednesday reported a 15% increase in profit for
the year to end-March.
Naspers has transformed itself from an apartheid-era
newspaper publisher to a global multimedia business by buying or taking stakes
in emerging market internet companies such as China’s Tencent and Russia’s
Naspers said core headline earnings per share rose to 1 850
cents in the year to end-March from 1 612c a year earlier.
The Cape Town-based company had indicated this month that
earnings would rise by as much as 20%.
Revenue totalled R39.5bn compared with R33.09bn a year
Naspers, which also has stakes in Polish e-commerce firm MIH
Allegro and Buscape, a price-comparison site, has said it will focus on growing
organically and developing new technologies, saying internet valuations are
It has spent heavily to grow its internet and pay television
businesses, but investors are now impatient to start reaping some of profits
made by its Chinese and Russian cash cows.
Naspers also delivered a better-than-expected dividend. The
company said it would hike its annual dividend by 24% to 335 cents per share,
beating a Reuters forecast of 334c in a poll of 9 analysts.
Naspers' share price has risen nearly 30% this year. It is
currently trading at 46 times full-year earnings, nearly quadruple the average
of 12.05 times for Johannesburg’s Top 40 - (Tradeable) [JSE:J200] index of blue
Naspers shares rose 2.3% to R465.97 on Wednesday morning.
* Fin24 is a Naspers publication.