With 26% profit growth, Naspers brings sunshine into SA investor gloom

On Rational Radio this week, Allan Gray director Duncan Artus suggested that instead of quoting gold in their news bulletins, radio stations would do better to keep the nation informed about the Naspers share price. Because Naspers is far more relevant to the wealth of SA citizens nowadays than the once mighty gold mining industry. The company is such a major part of the JSE’s index weightings that every South African with retirement funding has a significant interest in what happens at Naspers – whose 31% shareholding in Chinese internet giant Tencent is easily the nation’s biggest external asset. And right now there’s nothing to worry about on that front: core headline earnings in US Dollars rose 26% in the year to end March, bringing a much needed ray of sunshine to a JSE that’s been struggling, and a nation hit by the past week’s bad news about the massive cost of having to bail out Eskom. The piece below unpacks the highlights of a splendid year for SA’s global internet champion.  – Alec Hogg

From Naspers

“This was a transformational year for Naspers. We entered FY20 well positioned as a global consumer internet group.” – Bob van Dijk, Group CEO.

Group highlights for the year

See “Notes” section for an explanation of the numbers

  • Revenues increased 29% year-on-year to US19.0bn (2018: US$16.4bn).
  • Trading profit grew 22% year-on-year to US$3.3bn (2018: US$3.0bn).
  • Core headline earnings grew 26% to US$3.0bn (2018: US$2.4bn).
  • Transition to global consumer internet group completed with MultiChoice Group’s successful listing on JSE Limited and unbundling to shareholders, which unlocked around US$4bn in value.
  • Effectively 100% of revenues and profits now coming from online businesses.
  • Announced intention to list international internet assets on Euronext Amsterdam, creating Europe’s largest listed consumer internet company by asset value.
  • Continued to drive growth of core segments:
    • Ecommerce trading losses significantly reduced
    • Classifieds became profitable in aggregate for the year
    • PayU’s payments service provider business became operationally profitable during the year
    • Stepped up investment in Food Delivery, a high-growth, core segment for the group.
  • Locked in a strong return following the Flipkart disposal: US$2.2bn proceeds at a ~29% internal rate of return (IRR).
  • IRR of 20% on existing assets (excluding Tencent) since 2008.
  • Strong balance sheet with net cash of US$6.3bn positions the group well to pursue growth.

Basil Sgourdos, Group Chief Financial Officer, said:

“We executed well during the past financial year, growing revenue 29% to US$19.0bn, and trading profit 22% to US$3.3bn. With continued focus on accelerating growth in our core segments, the Classifieds and core payments service provider businesses are now profitable. Trading-loss margins in etail and the rest of the payments and fintech business narrowed as the businesses delivered solid revenue growth and continued to scale. We have broadened our ambitions in Food Delivery, which is an exciting, meaningful and rapidly transforming opportunity fuelled by a significant reallocation of consumer spending to this growing sector. Our progress gives us confidence in our ability to continue to identify opportunities that can create significant value going forward.”

Bob van Dijk, Group Chief Executive, added:

“This was a transformational year for Naspers. We entered FY20 well-positioned as a global consumer internet group. The listing and unbundling of MultiChoice Group unlocked around US$4bn of value for Naspers shareholders, and virtually all group revenues are now generated from online activities. At the end of the financial year, we also announced our intention to list our international internet assets on Euronext Amsterdam. This is designed to create a strong platform for continued growth while also reducing the outsized weighting of our primary listing on the JSE Limited. Looking ahead, we will continue to drive profitability in our established ecommerce segments while selectively investing in earlier stage opportunities.”

Koos Bekker, Naspers Chairman, commented:

“The team made good progress this year, delivering a solid financial performance while continuing to take action to create value for our stakeholders. We are executing well on our strategy to build meaningful global businesses in the online classifieds, payments and fintech, and food delivery sectors. ”

 

Key metricsFY19FY18
US$’mUS$’m
Revenue18 99016 352
Trading profit3 3042 994
Core headline earnings3 0002 388
Free cash outflow(120)(298)

The complete results are available at www.naspers.com/investors.

Looking ahead – Proposed listing on Euronext Amsterdam

  • On 25 March, Naspers announced its intention to list its international internet assets on Euronext Amsterdam, with a secondary, inward listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. On 21 June, Naspers confirmed via a SENS and press release a change to the timetable for the proposed listing. For the reasons set out in the SENS, so as to allow all Shareholders equal opportunity to fully consider the circular and resolution, the board has decided to withdraw the notice of the general meeting and consequently cancel the general meeting to which the notice related. The board intends to convene a new general meeting to consider the proposed transaction. This meeting will take place on the same date as the Naspers annual general meeting, currently scheduled for Friday 23 August 2019. More information on the timetable change is available at www.newglobaltechgroup.com.
  • The new group to be listed on Euronext Amsterdam, to date described as “NewCo”, will be called Prosus. Prosus is a Latin word, with various meanings. Its use in this case is inspired by the meaning “forwards”. Like Naspers, Prosus will be focused on forward momentum, continually striving to create value by building technology-led companies that improve people’s everyday lives. We believe great ideas can change the world – addressing big societal needs, bringing people closer together, improving their lives, making them more enjoyable and enriching. We believe the best ideas often start locally, so we look for exceptional entrepreneurs that meet the needs of the people and communities they understand best. And when we see those same needs elsewhere, with our backing and their ambition, the businesses we invest in, help build or operate can become global game changers. For more information on the Euronext listing, please visit www.newglobaltechgroup.com.
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