Naspers In Strong 6-Month Results As E-Commerce Booms

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VENTURES AFRICA – Naspers reports good growth in its half year results, driven by a booming internet segment, as the company focuses on expanding its e-commerce business.

Consolidated revenue for the six months to end September for the media group was up by 22 percent overall, weighing in at 23 billion rand ($2.6 billion).

Core headline earnings per share also grew by 15 percent, up to 10.62 rand ($1.2), totalling 4.1 billion rand ($463.5 million).

On a breakdown of different segment results, the company attributed its strong six month performance to the internet segment, with particular success in the e-commerce business which is the on-going focal point of the company’s growth plan.

Revenues from the e-commerce activities of the media group showed tremendous growth, up 61 percent totalling 4 billion rand ($452 million), of which 27 percent was organic growth.

Speaking on the success of the internet based commerce segment of the business group and prospects for this section of the company, Naspers Chairman Ton Vosloo said in a statement: “The group continues to grow organically, with an increasing focus on e-commerce…In addition, we have invested 4.5 billion rand ($509 million) year to date in acquiring new businesses in this area.”

In the pay-television segment, growth was also apparent, with revenues expanding by 19 per cent to 14.4 billion rand ($1.6 billion) in the six month period. The subscriber base of the pay-television section of the group also grew significantly in the half year, with net growth of 393,000 over the period bringing the subscriber base to 6 million homes spanning 48 African countries.

The media group did experience heightened costs on a number of levels, but none which would substantially impact on the positive trends demonstrated in the half year results. In the e-commerce segment trading losses had to be borne as the company continued a push to expand e-commerce platforms; while in the pay-television segment certain costs were incurred as a result of on-going necessary upgrades to the infrastructure, and costs pursuant to the digital migration in a number of countries in which Naspers operates.

As to the original print operations of the media group, the company conceded that South African operations “were strained by the challenging economic climate,” adding that nonetheless the segment was experiencing “steady growth”.

“During the next six months we’ll keep growing our e-commerce operations across emerging markets,” concluded Naspers CEO Koos Bekker. “We intend to step up the gas and as a result development spend will accelerate in the second half of the year.”