Naspers Reaches Record Close on China Growth: Johannesburg Mover

Naspers Ltd. (NPN), Africa’s biggest media group, rose to a record amid signs of accelerating growth in China, which accounts for almost three-quarters of profit for the Cape Town-based company.

The stock gained as much as 2.9 percent to 573.99 rand and closed at 572.63 rand by 5 p.m. in Johannesburg. The shares have added 5.4 percent this year, compared with a 3.5 percent advance in the benchmark FTSE/JSE Africa All-Share Index. (JALSH) About 1.8 million Naspers shares were traded, 1.4 times the three-month daily average.

Chinese manufacturing is expanding at the fastest rate in two years, according to a private survey of companies, bolstering prospects that economic growth will accelerate for a second straight quarter. Naspers owns 34 percent of Hong Kong- based Tencent Holdings Ltd. (700), which contributed 73 percent of core headline earnings in the six months ended Sept. 30, according to Bloomberg calculations based on company filings.

“There have been a number of reports from China about a pickup in growth, and analysts are starting to include that in their forecasts” for the company, Abri du Plessis, who helps manage the equivalent of about $450 million including Naspers stock at Gryphon Asset Management in Cape Town, said by phone.

The preliminary reading of a Purchasing Managers’ Index for China was 51.9 in January, according to a statement today from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. That compares with the 51.5 final reading for December.

Naspers is also benefiting from a decline in the rand, as the company generates the majority of its revenue in foreign currencies, Du Plessis said.

The rand declined as much as 0.3 percent today to 9.0878 a dollar, the weakest level in almost four years. It traded at 9.0542 by 5:11 p.m. in Johannesburg, bringing its retreat this year to 6.4 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Brand in Cape Town at rbrand9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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