Listed media and internet firm, Naspers, has reported consolidated revenue growth of 26% for the year ended March 2014, to R62.7 billion, driven by its internet and pay-television businesses.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) declined 18% to R6.4 billion, while trading profit was 34% lower at R3.9 billion.
Naspers pointed to development spend of R7.7 billion – up 79% on last year – devoted particularly to e-commerce and digital terrestrial television (DTT).
“As previously cautioned, this expansionary spend had the effect of limiting core earnings to R8.6 billion, approximately the same as last year,” it said.
Naspers’ core headline earnings per share decreased to 2,181 cents from 2,216 cents in 2013.
The group recommended that its annual gross dividend be increased by 10% to 425 cents per share.
It noted an influential rand that depreciated by an average 19% over the period against a basket of its main operating currencies.
In total, segment revenues for its internet businesses climbed 65% to R57 billion. The ramp-up in development spend resulted in slower trading profit growth of 8% to R6.6 billion, Naspers said.
“Our internet activities are rapidly transforming themselves into mobile-focused operations,” the group said.
Revenues from the group’s e-commerce activities over the past year increased 64% to R20.3 billion amid development spend here of some R5.6 billion.
As a consequence, the trading loss for this segment widened to R5.3 billion, Naspers said.
Naspers said its pay-television business reported growth in revenues. Subscriber numbers are up by 1.3 million households, taking the base to over 8 million homes across 50 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Revenues grew by 20% to R36.3 billion. Investments in DTT services resulted in trading profits creeping up at a slower 13% to R8.5 billion.
“We continue to invest in our online offering, expanding our services on mobile phones, tablets and computers, and launched an improved personal video recorder,” it said.
The print media segment experienced a tough year with flat revenues and declining margins, Naspers said.
Media24 managed small revenue growth of 1%, but trading profit declined by 7%.
Looking forward, Naspers said its established businesses should continue to be in the aggregate cash flow positive, profitable and growing.
“Our goal is to invest in new ventures that will deliver value over the long term. With this in mind, we will continue to invest heavily for organic growth and may also acquire new businesses within our fields of focus.
“Our belief is that, through a combination of attractive markets and appealing customer product offerings such as online classifieds, etail and DTT, we have a realistic prospect for growth over the medium term,” it said.