Naspers operations remain strong, says CFO Basil Sgourdos

Naspers’s strong revenue growth and share repurchase programme satisfies the market.

Naspers has announced strong revenue growth and profitability in core operations for the year ending 31 March 2022.

Basil Sgourdos, Group CFO, Prosus and Naspers, said, “Ecommerce revenues were up 49 percent and this performance is set against a stand-out performance in the prior year and significant global volatility. The macro-economic and severe geopolitical challenges in the second half of the year have presented significant headwinds. But our operations remain strong, and with improved profitability at the core, we are investing to scale into adjacent opportunities across our segments.”

Growth was evident across all key segments, including 92 percent growth in classifieds, 77 percent growth in food delivery, 55 percent growth in edtech and 45 percent growth in payments and fintech.

Basil said, “We believe that growth from the autos transaction businesses in classifieds, broader on-demand delivery ecosystem in food delivery, credit and digital banking in payments and fintech, and new investments in edtech will create significant value for the group over time.”

While the segments demonstrated core profitability, overall trading profit was lower than last year, reflecting investment in scaling the large adjacent opportunities in the segments, which serve significant consumer needs.

“As part of our strategy to optimise our capital allocation, we purchased $6.2 billion (R100,04 billion) of our own shares, which generated a meaningful enhancement to our NAV per share. We have also been active in the bond markets, raising $9.3 billion (R150,06 billion) at attractive interest rates,” Basil said.

“The group has a strong and liquid balance sheet, bolstered by the recent sale of our JD.com stake and we remain intent on maintaining our investment grade rating. Our solid financial footing positions us well for the challenging operating environment and the execution of our strategy,” he added.

Bob van Dijk, group CEO, Prosus and Naspers, said, “Looking ahead, we will seek to regularly crystallise the value that we are creating. Today, we have announced an open-ended share repurchase programme that will efficiently unlock value for shareholders and increase NAV per share at scale.”

The open-ended share repurchase programme will be funded by regularly selling small numbers of Tencent shares.

Key results highlights include:
• Group revenue up 24 percent;
• Overall group trading profit reduced by six percent;
• Core Headline Earnings down 16 percent; and
• Disposal of JD.com shares concluded.