Internet boosts Naspers’ profit

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Tencent REUTERS Tencent headquarters at Nanshan Hi-Tech Industrial Park in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

South African e-commerce and media firm Naspers posted an expected 15 percent rise in first-half earnings on Tuesday boosted by its Internet businesses.

The Cape Town-based company with operations in emerging economies including Russia, China and Brazil said core headline earnings came in at 1,062 cents per share in the six months to end-September, from 921 cents a year earlier.

It had flagged this month that underlying profit would rise by between 10 to 20 percent. Core headline profit, which Naspers says is its main earnings measure, excludes one-time items.

One-time items included a 1.5 billion rand ($170 million) profit from the sale of some Facebook shares by Russian affiliate Naspers owns 29 percent in

Total revenue climbed 22 percent to 23 billion rand ($2.60 billion) after Internet revenue rose 70 percent to 14.1 billion rand.

Naspers said it spent $530 million investing in new e-commerce businesses including Netretail, an on-line retailer with operations in Eastern Europe.

Naspers started off as a newspaper publisher in apartheid South Africa and has morphed into a global multimedia business acquiring stakes in emerging-market Internet companies such as China's Tencent and Brazil's Buscape.

Naspers' shares have risen over 50 percent this year. At 70 times price earnings, the company is considered expensive compared with the average of 13.5 times for Johannesburg's Top-40 index of blue chips. - Reuters

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