MTN and Naspers lead in emerging markets

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has released its 2013 Global Challengers report, listing SA’s MTN Group and Naspers as some of the fastest-growing companies in emerging markets.

The BCG Global Challengers report looks at companies in developing countries which show such rapid growth that they are “reshaping industries” and blowing past many traditional multinational corporations.

The report names 100 companies from 17 countries, from the financial services, health care equipment, and electronic commerce sectors.

“These companies are outpacing household names in the U.S. and Europe and are having a profound impact on the global economy,” BCG said.

Of the 100 companies named in the report, 5 are South African companies – up from 3 companies listed in 2011.

The South African companies listed are pharmaceutical group, Aspen; Bidvest investment group; SA mobile telecom operator, MTN Group; media group, Naspers; and energy and fuel group, Sasol.

“We sought companies with credible aspirations to build truly global footprints, excluding those that could pursue only export-driven models,” BCG said.

“Accordingly, we analyzed each company’s international presence, the number and size of its international investments, M&A activity over the past five years, and the strength of its business model.”

The companies listed in the report have been highlighted because they are “expanding their business portfolios; reaching the rapidly expanding consumer class in emerging markets; exploring new businesses based on the rising connectivity of the emerging world; and moving into underserved fast-growing markets,” according to the report.

In its report, BCG noted specifically that Naspers earned its listing having learned to cater to consumers across emerging markets, being a fast-expanding services company that was born in a country traditionally driven by commodities.

Naspers koos bekker
Naspers CEO, Koos Bekker


Naspers had an exceptional year in trade on the local bourse in 2012, where it added over R190 – or close to 53% – to its stock value over the course of the year.

The company’s strong performance was driven by the payout of smart investing – particularly in the Internet space, with a strong focus on e-commerce.

The group – with internet companies including Russia’s Mail.Ru Group, and China’s Tencent in its portfolio – turned an operating profit of R2.5 billion in its last report, up from R1.95 billion in 2011.

The company also has big investments in Pay-TV and news media, which add to its diversified portfolio.

Naspers is currently working on its future strategies, developing digital terrestrial television (DTT) services in markets across Africa, while it also plans on scaling its e-commerce operations in emerging markets.

MTN bar chart


The other South African company making its debut on BCG’s Global Challenger’s list is MTN Group, which operates in over 20 countries in Africa, servicing over 180 million subscribers.

The group has a diversified portfolio across the continent as well as in the Middle-East through MTN Irancell.

Over the past 12 months, MTN has achieved a dividend yield of 4.1%, and has seen its shares rise to approximately R176 from R135.41. MTN hit a record best price of R181.77 on 9 January 2013.

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MTN and Naspers lead in emerging markets