Naspers offshoot Prosus reports earnings boost from Tencent stake

PUBLISHED: Mon, 21 Jun 2021 09:36:19 GMT
Toby Sterling
FILE PHOTO: Naspers logo is seen in Johannesburg, South Africa, October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Prosus NV , the international investment arm of South Africa’s Naspers, reported a better than expected net profit of $7.45 billion for 2021 on Monday, driven by strong returns from its big stake in Chinese software giant Tencent.

However, the company reported an operating loss of $1.04 billion at the companies it owns around the globe in online marketplaces, food delivery and educational software.

Analysts had seen net profit at $4.63 billion for the 12 months ended March 31, up from $3.66 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to Refinitiv data. Prosus owns 28.9% of Tencent and is itself controlled by Naspers, Africa’s biggest company by market capitalisation.

Of net profit, $7.1 billion came from minority investments, dominated by the contribution from Tencent, which grew profit by 33%.

Prosus said its operating loss was due to higher employee expenses, and that its businesses had performed well amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It pointed a 54% increase in revenue in companies that it consolidates, to $5.1 billion from $3.3 billion.

“During the period, we accelerated revenue growth, improved profitability and cash generation, and grew customer numbers,” the company said in a statement.

Prosus’ parent Naspers reported a 24% rise in reported core headline earnings per share – the main gauge of corporate profit in South Africa – of 814 U.S. cents, up from 656 cents reported for the same period a year earlier.

Naspers currently owns 73% of Prosus. The companies are seeking shareholder support to move to a cross-holding structure that would shift the bulk of their assets to Amsterdam while leaving Naspers in control.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling, editing by Louise Heavens)

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