JSE-listed e-commerce group Naspers has published its interim results for the six months ending 30 September 2022 (HY23), posting a trading loss for the period as its exposure to Chinese group Tencent continues to weigh on its finances.
Group revenue was up 9% over the period to US$17 billion, with e-commerce revenue up 38%, driven by a strong operating performance across all four of the group’s core segments. However, aggregated trading losses in the e-commerce portfolio rose to US$1 billion from US$524 million in the comparative period.
Core headline earnings also suffered, down 51% to US$372 million due to increased investment spending, as well as its exposure to Chinese tech giant, Tencent. The drop in core headline earnings represents a decrease of 74% or US$1.1 billion – US$879 million of this relates to Tencent.
Naspers said that its board views core headline earnings as the most indicative of the health of its ongoing business operations.
Core headline earnings per share was recorded at 174 US cents, down from 394 US cents in HY22.
Revenue from continuing operations was recorded at US$3.73 billion. After costs and other losses, the group saw an operating loss of US$311 million. It posted a total comprehensive loss for the period of $3.72 billion.
Headline earnings decreased by US$1.3 billion to a loss of US$30.5 million. This was due to lower profitability across its associates, including fair-value losses of US$371.5 million in Tencent
The group said that despite a turbulent period during which industry growth expectations and valuations came under significant pressure, its e-commerce revenues grew, and it is committed to continued organic investment into segments where it sees the highest growth potential.
This investment will be focused on building and extending offerings within its core products, it said, notably within autos at OLX, convenience delivery in Food and credit at PayU.
However, alongside the continued investment, the group also wants to consolidate its e-commerce portfolio with the goal of becoming profitable in H1 of FY2025.
“Our buyback programme will continue for the foreseeable future, as it meaningfully improves net asset value (NAV) per share, creating permanent value that will compound over time,” it said.
Naspers group chief executive officer Bob van Dijk said that the company had experienced “a volatile and challenging time”.
“To further scale our e-commerce businesses, we have made significant organic investments in OLX Autos, credit, convenience delivery and edtech, which will drive sustainable long-term value creation for the group.
“The group’s open-ended buyback of Prosus and Naspers shares is unlocking real value. We expect the benefits of the programme to compound over time. Looking ahead, we will work towards simplifying the group’s structure and crystallising value from our portfolio.”
Naspers’ most significant e-commerce business locally is online retailer Takealot.
According to Naspers, Takealot grew total gross merchandise value (GMV) by 15% and revenue by 13% on a local currency basis. In USD, however, growth in GMV and revenue was flat.
Takealot recorded US$384 million in revenues for HY23, versus US$388 million in HY22, down 1.0% in dollar terms.
In terms of profitability, Takealot extended its losses to US$13 million (versus a loss of $2 million in HY22), representing a trading margin of -3% versus -1% in the prior period.
Source: Business Tech