JOHANNESBURG, June 23 South African e-commerce
and media firm Naspers reported a 2 percent
contraction in full-year earnings after ratcheting up spending
Naspers' core headline earnings per share decreased to 2,181
cents from 2,216 cents for the year ended March 31. Analysts
polled by Reuters had forecast they would rise by as much as 15
Naspers treats core headline earnings, which exclude some
one-off items, as the main measure of profit.
Naspers' will pay a 425 cent per share dividend, 10 percent
higher than the previous year.
The company's revenue grew 26 percent to 62.7 billion rand
($5.85 billion) while development spending jumped 79 percent to
7.7 billion rand.
The company has been strengthening its e-commerce muscle and
in February plucked the head of its eastern European on-line
marketplace, Bob van Dijk, as its new CEO.
Naspers' 33.73 percent stake in Tencent, China's largest
listed tech firm with a market value of nealy $140 billion, is
worth nearly as much as Naspers' market value.
The share price has gained 16 percent this year to nearly
1,270 rand, driving it price earnings ratio to 99 times and
making it one of the most expensive stocks on the Johannesburg
($1 = 10.7127 South African Rand)
(Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Ed Stoddard)