South Africa's global media giant Naspers delivers strong results

By Yolandi Groenewald in Johannesburg November 23, 2021

Global media giant Naspers has reported a strong financial performance, seeing its first half profit jump by 11%, driven by a large contribution from Chinese internet giant Tencent, in which it indirectly holds a 29% stake.

Naspers' core headline earnings per share – a key indicator which strips out gains or losses from non-operational items – stood at $4.16, as against a corresponding figure from the previous year of just $0.0376 (3.76 US cents per share).

The group reported a 9% increase in trading profit to $2.9bn.

South African-based Naspers released its results for the six months ending September 2021 on Monday, November 22. Naspers, Africa’s biggest company by market capitalisation, has parked all its international assets, including its Tencent stake, in its Amsterdam-listed subsidiary Prosus NV, in which it holds a 57% stake.

The media company was especially heartened by the performance of its e-commerce, where revenues grew by 52%, while continuing to make investments to further accelerate growth across its portfolio. Its South African businesses contributed healthily to this growth. 

E-commerce revenue growth accelerated, rising 52% to $4.6bn, while the group pointed to a figure of $5.2bin invested since April 1, 2021.

Bob van Dijk (Group CEO, Prosus and Naspers) also singled out e-commerce as a performance area for the group.

“In the first half of the year, our internet businesses delivered solid growth compounding a strong performance for the same period last year.

“Our progress is reflected in the increasing value attributed to our e-commerce portfolio and, to capture the significant opportunity ahead, we stepped up investment in our core segments of Food Delivery, Edtech, Payments and Fintech, and Classifieds,” he said. “Naspers companies now serve more than two billion customers and we continue to build innovative products that make a difference in people’s lives.”

Naspers was pleased with the performance of its South African business, which includes leading online retailer Takealot and South African mediahouse Media24.

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO of Naspers South Africa, said the group saw a tremendous opportunity for technology to drive inclusive economic growth and increased economic participation in South Africa. 

“Our investments are supporting SA’s digital transformation, fostering innovation, and equipping the next generation with the skills they require to help the country become a world-class investment destination.”

The Takealot Group – comprising Takealot.com, Mr D Food, and Superbalist – continued to benefit from the shift to online, Naspers said. The group grew revenues by 36%, while trading losses decreased to near breakeven with a trading loss of $2mn (ZAR31mn).

Mr D Food delivered strong results with order volumes growing 88% as consumer spending shifted from restaurant dining to online delivery, Naspers said. Superbalist grew revenue and trading margins, despite increasing competition from brick-and-mortar fashion retailers.

In June, the group reported annual results for the year ended March 2021, showing that the Takealot Group grew revenue by 65% to $606mn (ZAR9.5bn).

Media24 increased revenue by 29% and delivered a trading profit of $9mn (ZAR141mn).

“This turnaround performance to profitability against the prior year’s losses was underpinned by continued strong growth in digital subscribers and advertising, print media recovering much better than expected, excellent school textbook orders, the boom in e-commerce fulfilment, and sustained growth in external media logistics revenue – supported by the leaner cost base established in 2020,” it said.

Media24 controls Naspers’ newspaper and magazine publishing and printing activities in Southern Africa, including Internet publishing of the 24.com collection of web portals.

Naspers Foundry

Naspers Foundry, in the first half of this financial year, invested nearly ZAR200mn in three tech companies: mobility technology company WhereIsMyTransport (ZAR42mn); digital insurance advice platform Ctrl (ZAR34mn); and South Africa’s first fully digital insurance platform, Naked (ZAR120mn).

These three investments take the Naspers Foundry portfolio to seven companies, with a combined investment of around ZAR400mn since its launch in 2019.

 

 

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