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Naspers Full-Year Profit Increases, Beating Estimates

Naspers Ltd., Africa’s largest media business, reported full-year profit that beat analysts’ estimates as pay-television and Internet revenue increased.

Adjusted net income rose 15 percent to 6.95 billion rand ($824 million) in the year through March, the Cape Town-based company said in a statement today. That beat the 6.84 billion-rand median of nine analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Sales increased 19 percent to 39.5 billion rand. Naspers shares advanced as much as 3.1 percent, the biggest intraday jump since June 11.

“The Internet segment remains the fastest-growing area, with several new services under development,” Naspers said in the statement. “The pay-television segment recorded satisfactory progress in subscribers and is currently focused on expanding into online services and the delivery of digital terrestrial television services.”

Pay-TV subscribers increased by 684,000 to 5.6 million in the period. The pay-TV division’s revenue climbed by 15 percent to 24.1 billion rand, making up 61 percent of total sales. The Internet unit, which includes a 35 percent stake in Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s largest Internet service provider, boosted revenue by 59 percent to 19.2 billion rand.

Naspers shares rose 2.7 percent to 467.46 rand at 2:32 p.m. in Johannesburg, bringing the advance this year to 32 percent.

Acquisition Strategy

Naspers spent 1.85 billion rand on acquisitions of Internet services businesses, including 80 percent of Vipindirim Electronic Services Plc, a Turkish e-commerce company.

The company will make about 20 acquisitions in the fiscal year through March 2013 as it considers as many as 200 deals in the period, Chief Executive Officer Koos Bekker said in a telephone interview from Cape Town today.

Naspers increased its dividend by 24 percent to 3.35 rand per share and had 9.8 billion rand in cash and equivalents at March 31, up from 8.7 billion rand a year earlier.

“The dividend growth is much higher than we’ve had in many years,” said Bekker. The company won’t consider paying a special dividend as it is “comfortable” with its cash holdings, Bekker said.

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