Pay-TV, Internet Boost for Naspers in South Africa

Internet

Naspers, Africa's largest media company which lifted core headline earnings 38% to R3.9bn in the year to March, would continue to expand existing businesses and develop new opportunities in the year ahead, the group said last week.

Taxed profit rose to R3.9bn from R2.06bn and profit for the year increased to R4.06bn from R2.2bn the previous year. Core headline earnings per ordinary share rose 16% to R11.16. Revenue was up 19% to R20.5bn. Free cash flow was much the same at R2.2bn.

The contribution to revenue from the Internet businesses in particular rose sharply by 42% to R1.62bn. The biggest contribution to revenue was from pay- television, which rose 22% during the year to R11.5bn. However, the group has its intention to sell its ISP arm MWeb.

The annual dividend was raised 15% to R1.80 a share. Naspers stock rose 5.2% to R162.50 on the JSE on the day after the results were released.

The group's financial performance in the year ahead would be influenced by the timing of regulatory approvals for ventures such as mobile TV and the development of further Internet opportunities. These services typically had a negative effect on cash flows and earnings, until they started contributing.

The R1.1bn the group spent on developing new technologies in the past year was lower than expected due to the slower roll-out of mobile television services, which remain dependant on the issue of a commercial licence.

Business Day Johannesburg