Naspers surges as Honour of Kings, WeChat boost Tencent profit

2017-08-16 12:54 - Lulu Yilun Chen, Bloomberg News and Fin24
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Tencent CEO Pony Ma attends a news conference anno

Tencent CEO Pony Ma attends a news conference announcing the company’s results in Hong Kong. (Pic: AP)

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Hong Kong - Naspers, e-commerce giant and Africa's biggest company by value, surged more than 4% on the JSE after  Tencent posted a quarterly profit that surpassed all estimates as its marquee title Honour of Kings drove a 54% surge in mobile gaming revenue.

Naspers holds a 34% stake in Tencent.

By 12:33 Naspers shares were changing hands at R2 898.72 (+3.34%) after hitting an intra-day high of R2 927.00.

Shares of Tencent rose 1.4% on Wednesday and have gained 70% this year, compared with an 80% rise for New York-listed Alibaba.

Bloomberg reports China’s largest corporation reported a 70% surge in net income to a record 18.2 billion yuan for the three months ended June, exceeding the 13.5 billion-yuan average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 59% to 56.6 billion yuan, also topping projections.

Tencent’s market valuation is near record highs, fueled by expectations it’ll continue to tap the spending power of 200 million gamers on Honour of Kings and deliver more hits. The title’s popularity helped sales from smartphone play overtake desktops for the first time.

The still-nascent advertising and finance business on instant messaging app WeChat has also boosted investors’ confidence it can compete with ad-leader Alibaba and sustain growth.

“Mobile games revenue grew fast, benefiting from titles like Honour of Kings,” said Li Yujie, an analyst with RHB Research Institute Sdn in Hong Kong. “Advertising business also topped our expectations and grew at a healthy speed.”

Revenue from Value Added Services, which includes online games and messaging, climbed 43% to 36.8 billion yuan. Online advertising sales rose 55% to 10.1 billion yuan. WeChat had 963 million monthly active users, up 19.5% from the previous year. But the mobile version of QQ, Tencent’s other mainstay social network, had 3.9% fewer users at the end of the quarter.

“Tencent’s existing games and pipeline continue to draw new gamers and revenue,” Morgan Stanley analysts led by Hong Kong-based Grace Chen wrote in a report ahead of the results release.

They also foresee “strong growth potential in performance advertising and surging revenue growth in the payments business.”

* Fin24 is part of 24.com, a division of Media24, which is a subsidiary of Naspers.

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