Mail.Ru a cash cow for SA firm

Mail.Ru Group, the largest Internet company in the Russian-speaking world, continues to deliver extra-ordinary results for South African media giant Naspers, which has a 29% holding in the group.

Mail.Ru is set to deliver yet another special dividend after the group reported a 39% rise in revenue for the full year ending December 2012, to RUR 21.2 billion.

It follows a special dividend of USD 795 million, paid out last August.

Ebitda grew 38% to RUR11.53 billion, while net profit increased 37% to RUR 8.5 billion for the reporting period ended December 2012.

The group said the monthly audience of its Mail.Ru portal in December 2012 reached 33.3 million Russian users.

Group, Dmitry Grishin, chairman and CEO of Mail.Ru Group, said: “Looking into 2013 the structural drivers of our business remain unchanged.  We expect that community IVAS (intelligent virtual agents) and MMO gaming will be our key revenue streams, and with the events which have impacted display growth in H2 2012 dropping off we look into 2013 with confidence. As a result we would expect to see FY 2013 Group aggregate segment revenue growth of between 25-28%.

China internet company, Tencent, also has a 7.8% stake in Mail.ru, while Naspers has a 34% holding in Tencent.

In November, Naspers heralded a 22% rise in revenue for the six months ended September 2012, to R22.6 billion.

It said that Tencent and Mail.ru, continued to grow strongly with a collective contribution to core headline earnings of R3.2 billion.

In addition, Naspers also recorded a non-recurring book profit of R1.5 billion from Mail.ru’s partial sale of its stake in Facebook.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Mail.Ru had reduced its stake in Facebook, to 0.6% and disposed of its 4.1% ownership in Groupon, and 1.2% stake in online gaming platform, Zynga.

Mail.Ru Group fact box

  • Mail.Ru Group operates Russia’s leading e-mail service [email protected] and the two largest IM networks in Russia – Mail.Ru Agent and ICQ.
  • It operate two of the three largest Russian-language online social networking sites – My [email protected] and Odnoklassniki.ru – and own a strategic minority equity stake in the social network Vkontakte.
  • Mail.Ru Group is also Russia’s largest online games company. The company’s portfolio of online games includes 34 MMO games and more than 30 games for social networking sites.

 More on Mail.Ru and Naspers

Naspers associate to pay out special dividend

Naspers: no faith in Facebook

Naspers hikes Internet revenue by 70%

Naspers outlines R4.7bn ecommerce drive

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Mail.Ru a cash cow for SA firm