By Gugu Lourie
Naspers, a multinational group of ecommerce and media brands, posted a 30% rise in core headline earnings to R11,2 billion for the year ended-March 2015, thanks to increased earnings contributions from Tencent and profitable ecommerce businesses.
The group delivered a 17% rise in revenue to R73 billion.
The company, which operates in high growth markets including Africa, China, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, is valued at more than R809 billion.
The stock has risen 54% in the past year.
The Cape Town-based firm said the video-entertainment business (prevuiously pay-tv) made solid progress with the total base closing at some 10,2 million households across Africa. This comprises 2,2 million digital terrestrial television (DTT) subscribers and almost 8mdirect-to-home (DTH) satellite service subscribers.
“Naspers made progress across its video-entertainment (previously “pay television”) and internet platforms. We strengthened our position in several markets through incremental investments in people, technology, content and marketing – allowing growth ahead of our competitors,” the company said in a statement on Monday.
“Given ongoing delays in analogue switch offs, we decided to invest incrementally in the second half of the year to continue to drive Digital Transmission Television growth, which resulted in 1,4 million African homes being added to the base, to close the year at 2,2 million subscribers.”
The firm was founded in 1915 named Die Nasionale Pers (the National Press) with a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) since 1994. The group started as a printer and publisher of newspapers and magazines.
As a broad-based, multinational media group, Naspers provide services in more than 120 countries.
Naspers also has minority investments in two listed, integrated social-network platforms: Chinese-based Tencent and Russia’s Mail.ru. In May 2001, Naspers Naspers acquires a 46,5% interest in Tencent, the operator of an instant messaging platform in China called QQ. The business has since developed into the leading instant messaging business in China.
In China, mobile internet users now account for 85% of total internet users. Tencent has seen strong growth in its Weixin mobile-communication, social and commerce platform, mobile games, and mobile video.
Tencent continued to expand its partnerships with a series of investments in leading vertical players such as Dianping (local restaurant and services search), 58.com (online classifieds), as well as BitAuto and Leju (auto and real estate verticals) and JD.com (first-party ecommerce).
Naspers’ ecommerce segment is growing rapidly with revenues up 36% to R27,8 billion.
The company increased annual gross dividend by 11% to 470c per listed N ordinary share, and 94c versus 85c in 2014 per unlisted A ordinary share.