Naspers has announced financial results for the year ended 31 March 2014. The media giant said consolidated revenue had grown by a “robust” 26% to R62.7 billion. The growth was driven by its internet and pay television businesses. But, Naspers reported, “print media remains exposed to challenging global conditions and experienced a tough year. Revenues were flat and margins declined”.
“We had a lively year with progress across several businesses,” said Naspers chair, Ton Vosloo. “Our established businesses performed very well and we stepped up our investment in new growth opportunities, particularly in ecommerce.”
Naspers said in a statement that growth was funded mainly by development spend, which accelerated 79% to R7,7bn. “This step-up limited core headline earnings, considered by the board to be an indication of sustainable earnings performance, to R8.6 billion, marginally higher than last year. Core headline earnings per share amounted to R21.81 and a dividend increase of 10% to R4.25 per share has been proposed,” it said.
Driven by strong growth in etail, revenues from ecommerce activities increased 64% to R20.3 billion. “As this is an area of expansion, development spend rose as we scaled operations, increased the number of focus markets in classifieds and strengthened our talent pool. Consequently the trading loss widened to R5.3 billion,” said Basil Sgourdos, new CFO of the group. The year saw improving profitability from the Allegro marketplace business and some classifieds and online price-comparison operations. Several classifieds markets evidenced growth ahead of competitors.
The pay television business, which covers 50 countries on the African continent, reported 20% growth in revenues to R36.3 billion. Total subscribers increased by a record 1.3 million, taking the base to over eight million homes. Continued expansion of digital terrestrial (DTT) services, more investment in local content and an increase in online service offerings resulted in 13% growth in trading profit to R8.5 billion.
Naspers’s share of core earnings from associates, including Tencent in China and Mail.ru Group in Russia, increased by 46% to R10.2 billion.
““Our goal is to invest in growth businesses that will deliver value over the long term. With this in mind, we will continue to invest heavily for organic expansion and may also acquire new businesses within our fields of focus,” said new Naspers CEO, Bob van Dijk.
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