Consumer internet company Naspers on Monday (21 June) reported annual results for the year ended March 2021, showing a 44% jump in trading profit to $5.6 billion, with group revenue up 33% to $28.8 billion, led by its burgeoning food segment.
Naspers said it now serves more than two billion users globally, with its e-commerce portfolio value almost doubling over the past year, to a valuation of $39 billion.
Core headline earnings per ordinary share increased to 814 US cents per share, from 656 cents previously.
Naspers said its ventures team continues to identify future growth opportunities, with $900 million of investments since the start of FY21.
Basil Sgourdos, group chief financial officer for Prosus and Naspers, said: “Since the start of the year, we have invested around $7 billion to expand our ecosystems and become even more useful
to our customers. This accelerates growth across our existing portfolio and also plants the seeds of future growth.
“We also invested in a $5 billion share-purchase programme of Naspers and Prosus stock.”
Post year-end, the group sold a 2% stake in Tencent, reducing its holding to 28.9%. The resulting proceeds of $14.6 billion created added financial flexibility to invest in new opportunities to sustain the strong growth and returns in the group’s ecommerce portfolio, he said.
“Since then, we have invested a further $2.6 billion in Delivery Hero which continues to demonstrate global leadership in the nascent and fast growing food delivery opportunity.
“We also recently announced a $1.8 billion acquisition of Stack Overflow by the newly established edtech segment, expanding the edtech portfolio and positioning the group well to participate in a new fast growing and sizeable opportunity.”
Food delivery growth
Naspers said that its food delivery segment, and ‘etail’, performed exceptionally well as customers shifted from offline to online over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Investments in edtech also began to bear fruit, driven by increased adoption by students working from home.
The group entered the food marketplace space in 2013 with a $2 million investment in iFood, and is now present in 69 markets.
Prosus has investments in iFood, Delivery Hero and Swiggy. “Food delivery is still in its early stages, with considerable runway ahead. While food delivery is one of the key pillars of the Prosus strategy, we expect to see an evolution to a broader on-demand delivery ecosystem,” it said.
“In FY21, we capitalised on an accelerated consumer shift to online food delivery, achieving 70% growth in gross merchandise value (GMV) and 127% growth in revenues,” it said. iFood, majority-owned by Prosus, grew revenues more than 200% year-on-year.
“The focus is now extending beyond restaurants, to convenience, grocery delivery and logistics, with all our food delivery businesses having rolled out convenience and grocery delivery,” it said.
In January 2021, the group invested in Helsinki-based Wolt, which has gone beyond restaurants and into the grocery and retail sectors.
“In April 2021, we made our first direct investment in an online grocery business, Norwegian-based Oda. We followed this with an investment in Germany-based instant grocery delivery company Flink in June.”
Naspers said that the size and growth of the education sector, combined with falling technology costs and rising education costs, provide great potential for innovation and disruption at scale.
“Since 2016, we have built a world-class, global portfolio of edtech companies spanning primary, secondary, vocational and lifelong learning. During the year, we stepped up our edtech exposure, announcing an investment in Eruditus and also our investment in Skillsoft via a special purpose acquisition company.”
Post year-end, Prosus announced an agreement to acquire Stack Overflow and a majority stake in GoodHabitz – which, when combined with its portfolio, will reach 90% of the Fortune 100 companies.
“After just five years of investment, we will reach well in excess of 500 million learners every month in this rapidly-growing sector and we see exciting opportunities to deepen their learning experience over time.”
The Takealot Group, comprising Takealot.com, Superbalist and Mr D Food, delivered a strong performance despite a challenging start due to the pandemic, Naspers said. The group grew revenue by 65% to $606 million (R8.7 billion), while trading losses decreased to near breakeven.
“Mr D Food, delivered strong results as consumer demand shifted from in-restaurant dining to online delivery. Mr D Food’s order volumes grew 117%, resulting in a 103% growth in
revenues year-on-year,” it said.
Naspers said that its payments and fintech segment reported strong financial results for the year. Total Payment Value (TPV) increased 51% to $55 billion, supported by a 38% increase in the
number of transactions.
Within its classifieds division, OLX Group became profitable overall in 2020 and remained so this year, despite the initial challenges of the pandemic and continued investment in products and services, it said.
Average monthly users reached 322 million by year-end, compared to 300 million the previous year. Revenues grew 18% to $1.6 billion, with 36% growth in the second half.