Naspers boosted by Internet business

South African media and Internet firm Naspers posted an expected 20 percent jump in annual profit on Tuesday, boosted by strong performance in its Internet businesses and a weaker rand currency.

The company, which has stakes in Internet firms such as China’s Tencent and Russia’s Mail.ru, said core headline earnings per share increased to 2,216 cents from 1,850 cents last year.

Naspers had said earnings for the year to end-March would rise by as much as 25 percent.

The company considers core headline earnings, which exclude some one-time items, as its main measure of profit.

Naspers’ revenue grew 27 percent to 50.25 billion rand ($5 billion) and it declared a 385 cents per share dividend, from 335 cents last year.

Naspers has been spending heavily on acquisitions of e-commerce companies, particularly in eastern Europe. Naspers said it paid 1.8 billion rand in cash for a 79 percent stake in Netretail, an online retailer with operations in Czech Republic and Poland.

The company, which started out as an Afrikaans newspaper publisher nearly a century ago, said it was cutting costs in its print media operations in Brazil.

Its shares have gained 25 percent so far this year, compared to a 2.8 percent decline by the Top-40 index.

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Naspers boosted by Internet business