South African media company Naspers has reported 15 percent growth in its half year results, fuelled by successes in its Internet and pay TV segments, with the company focusing on expanding e-commerce activities.
The media group revealed consolidated revenue for the six months ended September 30totalling R22.6 billion (US$2.55 billion), a 22 percent increase on the equivalent figure for 2011 when revenue came to R18.5 billion (US$2.09 billion).
Core headline earnings per share – a favoured indicator of profits in South Africa – grew by 15 percent, up to R10.62 (US$ 1.2) per ordinary share and reaching a total of R4.1 billion (US$463.5 million) as compared to the H1 2011 figure of R3.5 billion (U$395.5 million).
Naspers attributed its strong performance to the company’s Internet segment, which has been the company’s fastest growing segment over the six months in question, displaying a 70 percent increase in revenues, which reached R14.1 billion (US$1.59 billion), achieving trading profits of R3.1 billion (US$350.5 million).
E-commerce is also proving central to Naspers’ ongoing development plans. Revenue for the segment was up 61 percent, totalling R4 billion (US$ 452 million), including 27 percent organic growth, with the company promising increased development in the segment across the second half of 2012.
Reiterating the importance of e-commerce in the expansion strategy of the business going forward, Naspers Chairman Ton Vosloo said: “The group continues to grow organically, with an increasing focus on e-commerce… In addition, we have invested R4.5 billion a year to date in acquiring new businesses in this area.”
Finally, the pay-television segment of the results showed a 19 percent revenue expansion in H1, reaching R14.4 billion (US$1.6 billion), attributable to the rise in subscriptions – the subscriber base seeing a 393,000 net growth to boast six million registered users across 48 countries in Africa.
Despite the impressive direct results, the media group also conceded that it had derived benefits from a weakened Rand over recent months and added that heightened spending may be apparent in H2 results as the majority of development spending will occur over the coming months.
Outlining the company’s strategy and expectations for the coming period, Naspers CEO Koos Bekker said: “During the next six months we’ll keep growing our e-commerce operations across emerging markets… We intend to step up the gas and as a result development spend will accelerate in the second half of the year.”
As to Naspers’ original print operations, the company admitted difficulties, noting that South African operations “were strained by the challenging economic climate”. Nonetheless, the media group insists that the segment is experiencing “steady growth”.