Naspers reports up to 20% gain in full-year profit before items

Naspers Ltd., Africa’s biggest company by market value, said it expects to report that full-year earnings rose as much as 20 percent when one-time items are excluded.

The “core headline” figure for the period ended March 31 will range from 15 percent to 20 percent higher than a year earlier, Naspers said in a statement on Wednesday. The company considers this the best measure of its operating performance.

Naspers, which rode an early investment in Tencent Holdings Ltd. to a market value now topping $62 billion, reports full results around June 24, for the first time in U.S. dollars. Because of non-recurring and non-operational items that it didn’t specify, the company said earnings per share after items will drop by 20 percent to 25 percent, from $3.11 in fiscal 2015.

“We expect to see a further improvement in reducing losses at OLX and a solid performance in South Africa pay-TV,” analysts at Renaissance Capital said in a report after the trading statement was released, referring to OLX online classifieds listings. They said this would be offset by investments in Letgo, a classifieds app, and Showmax, which offers online programming, as well as cyclical weakness in its sub-Saharan Africa pay-TV business.

Naspers traded 2.1 percent higher at 2,185.36 rand at the close in Johannesburg. The shares earlier rose as much as 2.7 percent.

Naspers market capitalization has tracked the record gains of Chinese WeChat messaging app developer Tencent, in which it owns a 34 percent stake. Shenzhen, China-based Tencent has been by far Naspers’s most successful investment as the company transformed itself from a South African newspaper publisher into a continent-wide multi-media provider and backer of emerging-market internet businesses.