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.
Prosusâ€™ 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)