Naspers profit rises on internet boom

2012-06-27 08:18

Johannesburg - South African media and e-commerce firm Naspers [JSE:NPN] posted a 15% gain in full-year earnings on Wednesday, boosted by solid growth in its money-spinning internet business.

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 company considers core headline earnings, which exclude one-time items, to be the most accurate measure of its earnings. 

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 earlier.

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 inflated.

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 334 cents 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 chips.  

Naspers shares rose 2.3% to R465.97 on Wednesday morning.

*Fin24 is a Naspers publication.