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By Thomas Pfeiffer
(Bloomberg) – Naspers Ltd.’s full-year earnings rose by as much as a third ahead of the technology group’s planned asset spinoff in Amsterdam, a move designed to reduce its dominance of Johannesburg’s stock exchange.
Core headline earnings per share, which strip out non-operational items, are expected to have grown by between 31% and 33%, the Cape Town-based company said in a statement ahead of more detailed financials scheduled for June 21.
The market value of Africa’s biggest listed company has increased by five times in the past six years, largely due to growth in Naspers’s 31% stake in Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. to about $128bn. The company now makes up about 25% of the FTSE/JSE Africa All-Share Index, compared with 5% in 2013.
While Naspers didn’t give a reason for the improving operating performance, Tencent reported a better-than-expected 17% rise in first-quarter net income last month. The South African company’s stake in the Chinese firm is worth more than Naspers as a whole, and management led by Chief Executive Officer Bob Van Dijk are striving to reduce that gap.
The shares rose 0.8% to R3,489.41 as of 11:35am in Johannesburg, valuing Naspers at R1.5trin ($101bn). The stock has gained 24% this year, compared with a 13% rise on the FTSE/JSE Africa Top40 Index.
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