Tech giant Naspers has published it results for the year ended March 2019, showing revenue climbed 16% to US$19 billion, when measured on an economic-interest basis, and excluding its video entertainment business.
Measured similarly, group trading profit increased 10% (or 22% in local currency and adjusted for acquisitions and disposals) to $3.3 billion. Driven by classifieds, etail, and payments and fintech, Naspers said its e-commerce business posted a strong performance and reduced trading losses by 14%.
Core headline earnings from continuing operations grew 26% to $3.0 billion, while diluted core headline earnings per N ordinary share climbed 26%, to 680 cents.
“The past year was transformational for the Naspers group as we initiated and executed a number of significant strategic initiatives. We invested to strengthen our e-commerce segments and broadened our ambitions in food delivery. All key segments made good progress against financial and strategic objectives,” it said.
Naspers listed MultiChoice Group on the JSE and distributed shares in this business to its shareholders in February 2019. MultiChoice was presented as a discontinued operation.
“As a result of these strategic initiatives, Naspers enters the 2020 financial year as a fundamentally different group, with virtually all revenues now generated from online activities, and is well positioned as a global consumer internet group,” it said.
Internet revenues were $18.7 billion, up 18% (30%). Internet trading profits rose 11% (22%) as many e-commerce units accelerated their profitability and Tencent delivered a stable performance, Naspers said.
Overall e-commerce revenue was up 10% (26%) to $3.9 billion, with significant contributions from classifieds, food delivery, payments and fintech, and etail, the group said.
E-commerce trading losses declined by 14% (15%), driven by a $116 million profitability improvement in classifieds and narrowing trading losses in the etail, and payments and fintech businesses. “This was partially offset as we invested more to capture the significant online food-delivery opportunity,” it said.
“Our profitable e-commerce businesses generated revenues and trading profits of $2 billion and $414 million respectively. Like for like, this reflects growth of 15% (26%) and 29% (42%) respectively,” Naspers said.
“This was a transformational year for Naspers. We entered FY20 well-positioned as a global consumer internet group,” said Basil Sgourdos, group chief financial officer.
“The listing and unbundling of MultiChoice Group unlocked around US$4 billion of value for Naspers shareholders, and virtually all group revenues are now generated from online activities. At the end of the financial year, we also announced our intention to list our international internet assets on Euronext Amsterdam.
“This is designed to create a strong platform for continued growth while also reducing the outsized weighting of our primary listing on the JSE Limited.”
On Friday (21 June), Naspers named its new global consumer Internet group, Prosus, which it intends to list on Euronext Amsterdam in September, along with an inward listing on the JSE.
Prosus will consist of Naspers’s Internet assets outside of South Africa and includes investments in online classifieds, food delivery, payments and fintech, e-retail, travel, education, and social and Internet platforms. Prosus includes the group’s 31.2% stake in Tencent.
For the year ended December 2018, Tencent’s revenues of RMB313 billion were up 32%. Non-GAAP profit attributable to shareholders – Tencent’s measure of normalised performance – grew 19% to RMB77 billion.
Revenues from value-added services increased 15% to RMB177 billion, with online games revenues growing 6% to RMB104 billion and social networks revenues rising 30% to RMB73 billion. Online advertising revenues rose 44% to RMB58 billion. Other revenues (mainly payment and cloud-services revenues) rose 80% to RMB78 billion.
Looking ahead, Naspers said its focus will remain on driving profitability in established e-commerce segments, accelerating investment to scale food delivery, extending products and services in its core segments, and using its strong balance sheet to selectively invest in new opportunities.
“We will also improve the competitiveness of our platforms by continuing to invest in tech and product and reinforce our artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities,” it said.