Naspers’ directors to have significant shares in co after share exchange deal

PUBLISHED: Thu, 10 Jun 2021 18:42:43 GMT

JOHANNESBURG, June 10 (Reuters) – The incentives of executive directors in Naspers Ltd will be linked to the performance of the company and a share exchange programme with subsidiary Prosus will not alter that, the company said on Thursday.

Last month, Naspers and Prosus had announced a share exchange programme under which Prosus, listed on Euronext in Amsterdam, would issue new shares to buy up to 45.4% of its parent Naspers’ shares listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The deal, which analysts have said would lead to a vast cross holding structure, was done to shrink a steep discount that Naspers currently trades at to the value of its holding in Prosus and to the value of its blockbuster investment in China’s Tencent Holdings, which is held 28.9% by Prosus.

However, analysts and shareholders have argued that a vast cross holding will not help in reducing the steep discount and could potentially take away the board’s incentive to work towards the interest of Naspers shareholders.

“We continue to be committed to Naspers,” Bob van Dijk, CEO of both the companies, told Reuters.

“Basil (CFO Basil Sgourdos) and I actually have most of our financial health, our long term financial health, tied up in Naspers share options. And we promised our shareholders that we will not exercise those options,” he said.

Naspers, Africa’s biggest company and a technology behemoth, holds a 73.2% stake in Prosus, where all of its international assets spread across e-commerce, food delivery, fin tech, education technology are housed including Tencent.

In a separate statement, the company said its core headline earnings per share – the main gauge of corporate profit in South Africa – for the period that ended March 31 is expected to increase by between 135 and 181 cents per share.

It will be announcing its full year results on June 21. (Reporting by Promit Mukherjee Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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