Bloomberg News

Naspers Annual Profit Rises 61% on China, Russia Investments

June 27, 2011

(Updates company outlook in third paragraph.)

June 27 (Bloomberg) -- Naspers Ltd., Africa’s largest media company, said full-year profit climbed 61 percent, boosted by its investments in Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Russia’s Mail.ru and its pay-television unit.

Net income in the 12 months through March increased to 5.26 billion rand ($758 million) from 3.26 billion rand a year earlier, Cape Town-based Naspers said in a statement today. Sales increased 18 percent to 33.1 billion rand. That compared with average analyst estimates in Bloomberg surveys of 5.79 billion rand for net income and 32.6 billion rand in revenue.

Naspers will now focus on growing existing businesses because internet-company valuations “have become inflated and good value is hard to find,” it said. The focus on organic growth and developing new technologies may “dampen earnings in the year ahead” while improving long-term growth prospects.

The company’s revenue from Tencent, China’s largest Internet service provider, in which Naspers owns 35 percent, increased 48 percent to 7.22 billion rand while trading profit jumped 50 percent to 3.5 billion rand. The South African company’s 30.3 percent stake in Russian Internet company Mail.ru, which has a stake in Facebook Inc., also helped to boost earnings.

Trading profit grew in all the group’s businesses, with the exception of newspapers and magazines, while the number of pay- TV subscribers in South Africa climbed by 637,000 to 3.5 million and by 340,000 in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa to 1.4 million. Naspers said its core headline earnings, its main measure of profit, increased 13 percent to 6 billion rand.

Naspers shares’ gained 1.2 percent to 372.51 rand, where it was trading as of 9:27 a.m. in Johannesburg, giving the company a market value of 151.3 billion rand.

--Editors: Vernon Wessels, Alastair Reed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at smantshantsh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net


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