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Naspers Reaches Record Close on China Growth: Johannesburg Mover

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Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Naspers Ltd., 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. 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., 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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