Naspers Profit Rises 23% as Internet Sales Exceed Television

Naspers Ltd., Africa’s largest media group, said full-year profit rose 23 percent after a surge in Internet revenue and growth in DSTV pay-television subscribers.

Adjusted net income was 8.5 billion rand ($848 million) in the 12 months through March, the Cape Town-based company said in a statement today. That beat the 8 billion-rand median of nine analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

“These results are underpinned by a diverse portfolio, a fairly global presence and the spread of risk,” the company said. “A milestone was reached this year when managed revenues from our Internet units” exceeded that of pay television.

Naspers, which owns stakes in Russian social networking and gaming site Group Ltd. and Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings Ltd., is expanding its Internet business across the world and increasing its pay-TV subscriber base in Africa. The company said it plans to invest in new ventures as consumers shift from computers to smartphones, a strategy that will “reduce both earnings and cash flows in the short term.”

The company’s shares rose 0.6 percent to 680.98 rand by 9:42 a.m. in Johannesburg, increasing gains for the year to 25 percent. Naspers also gained from a weaker rand as a majority of its earnings were generated outside South Africa, the company said on June 11. The rand has declined 15 percent against the dollar this year, the worst performer of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Subscribers to the group’s pay-television service in Africa increased by 1.1 million to 6.7 million homes, the company said. Sales rose 27 percent to 50.2 billion rand as managed Internet revenue advanced 80 percent to 34.6 billion rand.

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