Naspers chairman talks mobile growth

Naspers will focus on organic growth in the year ahead, according to its chairman, Ton Vosloo, with the growth of mobile devices a particularly important technology trend.

Vosloo, a former journalist and MD of Naspers, was addressing his board at the group’s 99th AGM on Friday (30 August).

Naspers boasts a range of successful internet companies globally, including Mail.Ru Group, PriceCheck, Tencent, and, along with local TV brands including Supersport, DStv, and MultiChoice.

“With over one billion smartphones now accounting for 20% of all mobile devices worldwide, internet use is shifting steadily from PC to mobile and tablets,” Vosloo said.

“In some of our businesses, as much as a third of total traffic now stems from mobile applications. While this trend disrupts existing business models, it also creates opportunities for our talented engineers and committed people in some 130 countries around the globe.”

In June, Naspers reported an earnings milestone in financial results for the year ended March 2013, generating consolidated revenue growth of 27% to break through R50 billion.

Shares in the group have continued to test record highs, adding more than R295 or 53% in the year to date period alone, giving Naspers a market cap of R415.82 billion.

In afternoon trade on Friday (30 August), Naspers traded at R850.80, having reached a best of R876.43 on August 22.

In line with strategy, Vosloo noted that Naspers increased its development spend to R4.3 billion (up from R2.8 billion in 2012).

“We are aiming at growing our e-commerce businesses and rolling out digital terrestrial pay-TV services across sub-Saharan Africa.”

Looking ahead, Vosloo said that while group strategy is continually refined, three legs are unchanged: organic growth of existing businesses, a few acquisitions that add value and developing new technologies.

“In the year ahead, we will focus especially on growing our businesses organically. This will mute earnings in the short term as the cost of developing these businesses is expensed through the income statement.”

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Naspers chairman talks mobile growth