UPDATE 1-Naspers says sees higher H1 earnings

Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:34am EST

JOHANNESBURG Nov 16 (Reuters) - South African e-commerce and media firm Naspers said on Friday it will likely post up to a 20 percent increase in underlying profit, but gave no reason for the expected rise.

The company said in a statement it expects core headline profit for the six months to end-September to rise by 10 to 20 percent from 921 cents per share a year earlier.

Core headline profit, which Naspers says is its main earnings measure, excludes one-time items.

Earnings per share, which includes one-time items, will likely rise by as much as 120 percent, after Russian affiliate Mail.ru sold some of its Facebook shares. lifted by a sale of a Facebook

The Cape Town-based company owns 29 percent in Mail.ru.

Naspers had said in June that heavy spending to drive organic growth would keep profit flat this year after it reported a 15 percent jump in profit for the year to the end of March.

Naspers has transformed itself from an apartheid-era newspaper publisher to a global multimedia business by buying or taking stakes in emerging-market Internet companies such as China's Tencent and Mail.ru.