Naspers delivers strong revenue growth with profitable core operations; announces open-ended share repurchase programme
Naspers Limited (JSE: NPN) (LSE:NPSN) announced strong revenue growth with profitability in core operations for the year ending 31 March 2022.
Building on the prior year's standout performance, the Group's ecommerce portfolio delivered revenue growth of 49%1 to US$10.7bn. This growth resulted from strong operational execution and momentum in all ecommerce segments despite the turbulent environment. While the segments demonstrated core profitability, overall trading profit was lower than last year, reflecting investment in scaling the large adjacent opportunities in the segments, which serve significant consumer needs.
Today, Prosus and Naspers announced the start of an open-ended share repurchase programme of Prosus and Naspers shares. This programme will be funded by regularly selling small numbers of Tencent shares and is designed to efficiently unlock immediate value for shareholders and increase NAV per share over time. The programme will be active as long as the discount to NAV is at elevated levels. Full details are available in the regulatory announcement on the Naspers website.
Looking ahead, the Group will continue disciplined investment into scaling out growth adjacencies to build bigger and more valuable businesses - they have good traction with consumers and high potential to generate sustainable returns over the long term. Reflecting market realities, investment will be balanced with a focus on reducing costs and driving profitability in the core, and setting even higher targets for M&A returns. The Group aims to bring the ecommerce portfolio to profitability in aggregate and to build significant additional value. Investment in existing businesses and in Prosus and Naspers shares is expected to create significant value for shareholders.
1 Growth percentages shown in local currency terms, adjusted for acquisitions and disposals.
Bob van Dijk, Group CEO, Prosus and Naspers, commented:
"In FY22, we delivered strong growth and scale across our businesses, positioning them for continued growth. We invested in our segments and strategic M&A over the year, reflecting our belief in the potential of the businesses we are building. Looking ahead, we will seek to regularly crystallise the value that we are creating. Today, we have announced an open-ended share repurchase programme that will efficiently unlock value for shareholders and increase NAV per share at scale."
Group performance2 3
Basil Sgourdos, Group CFO, Prosus and Naspers, commented:
"Ecommerce revenues were up 49% and this performance is set against a stand-out performance in the prior year and significant global volatility. The macro-economic and severe geopolitical challenges in the second half of the year have presented significant headwinds. But our operations remain strong, and with improved profitability at the core, we are investing to scale into adjacent opportunities across our segments. We believe that growth from the autos transaction businesses in Classifieds, broader on-demand delivery ecosystem in Food Delivery, credit and digital banking in Payments & Fintech, and new investments in Edtech will create significant value for the Group over time."
"As part of our strategy to optimise our capital allocation, we purchased US$6.2bn of our own shares, which generated a meaningful enhancement to our NAV per share. We have also been active in the bond markets, raising US$9.3bn at attractive interest rates. The Group has a strong and liquid balance sheet, bolstered by the recent sale of our JD.com stake and we remain intent on maintaining our investment grade rating. Our solid financial footing positions us well for the challenging operating environment and the execution of our strategy."
2 Group results shown on economic-interest basis (i.e., including a proportionate consolidation of the contribution from associates and joint ventures). All growth percentages shown in this media release are shown in local currency terms, adjusted for acquisitions and disposals.
Strong and consistent performance in ecommerce
Ecommerce revenues grew 49% to US$10.7bn, with robust growth across all key segments. This performance was led by 92% growth in Classifieds, 77% growth in Food Delivery, 55% growth in Edtech and 45% growth in Payments & Fintech.
Classifieds, as well as core payments, remain profitable, with trading profit of profitable ecommerce businesses increasing 17% to US$498m.
With strong operational execution, good consumer traction, and improving profitability in core operations, the Group increased investment to pursue opportunities for each segment. Extending into complementary adjacencies, areas of enhanced investment included autos transactions, credit and digital banking, and food, convenience, and grocery delivery. Ecommerce losses of US$1.1bn reflect this investment. Approximately 66% of this loss is from associates within our investment portfolio and does not have a cash impact on the Group.
A detailed breakdown of the Net Asset Value of the Naspers portfolio, based on market consensus estimates, is available on the Naspers website here.
Classifieds - OLX Group
OLX delivered a strong performance for the year, as it expanded its direct-to-consumer autos transactions business and consumer financing, and reshaped its core Classifieds business by scaling pay-and-ship services.
Revenues increased 92% to US$3.0bn. OLX Autos contributed significantly to growth, with revenue of US$1.6bn, up 173% year-on-year. Trading profit increased slightly on the previous year at US$25m.
OLX Autos scaled operations significantly, with a record 175,000 autos transactions, up 79% on the prior year. In our core Classifieds business, we recorded growth across our key markets, with our monthly app user base rising 7% to 124 million, active listings growing 11% to 174 million and monthly paying listers increasing 10% to 4.1 million.
Our portfolio of food businesses is present in 57 countries. The segment has delivered good growth, as we continue to leverage our scale, logistics network and capabilities, and strong consumer relationships, which deliver a real competitive advantage. Gross merchandise value (GMV) grew 59%, with order growth of 53%, resulting in an increase in revenue of 77% to US$3.0bn.
The most significant businesses in the segment are iFood, Delivery Hero, and Swiggy.
iFood, majority-owned by Prosus, grew GMV by 41% and revenue by 29%. iFood's core restaurant business delivered a trading profit of US$10m.
Delivery Hero continued to deliver strong growth for its financial year ended 31 December 2021, with order growth of 57% and GMV increasing 62% to €35.4bn.
Swiggy has fully recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, growing total orders by 55% and GMV by 76%. Swiggy's total revenue grew 68%.
Scale and innovation are presenting meaningful opportunities to unlock adjacent business models in grocery delivery and quick commerce. The portfolio's companies are building grocery delivery businesses on their restaurant delivery platforms, as they capitalise on
the surge in demand from offline to online. While the quick commerce businesses grew orders by 109% and GMV by 207% during the year, the investment in these adjacencies has increased trading losses for the segment by 84%, to US$724m.
Payments & Fintech - PayU
PayU delivered solid results, with revenue growth across the portfolio. Total payment volume (TPV) reached US$78.5bn, up 47%, on the back of faster digitisation across PayU's markets. Revenues grew 45% to US$796m, reflecting the strong performance in the India payments business and a strong recovery in credit. TPV in India grew 66%, to US$43.8bn and revenues increased 49% to US$304m, driven by merchant diversification. The core payments business remains profitable, with a trading profit of US$43m and a trading profit margin of 7%.
The Global Payments Operations, focused mainly in Europe and Latin America, delivered good growth. TPV grew 30% and revenues were up 29% to US$341m.
In August 2021, the acquisition of BillDesk in India for US$4.7bn was announced. Subject to regulatory approval, this would create a global top 10 online payments provider and the opportunity to expand deeper into credit and digital banking in India.
Edtech is a significant new segment in the Prosus Ecommerce portfolio. Technology is transforming the education sector and radically increasing access to learning across the world for many millions of people.
The segment grew strongly through the year, with revenue growing 55% to US$425m. Trading losses increased to US$117m, reflecting acquisitions and increased investment within the segment. During the year, the portfolio was expanded through strategic M&A, including a substantial stake in Skillsoft, the acquisition of Stack Overflow, and a controlling stake in GoodHabitz.
Reaching more than 500m users across 12 businesses, the segment covers the full span of learning from kindergarten through to grade 12 (K?12), and beyond, into third- and enterprise-level education. Together, the portfolio's investments in the workplace learning sector reach 90% of Fortune 100 companies. The reach of our K?12 focused companies is illustrated by Brainly's more than 300m monthly users and BYJU'S expansion beyond India during the year.
The Ventures team targets opportunities with the potential to fuel future waves of growth for the Group; both the Food Delivery and Edtech segments graduated from the Ventures portfolio.
During the financial year, Ventures invested around US$900m in 50 closed transactions across 34 companies. With more than 35 companies, the portfolio includes investments in the logistics, ecommerce, fintech, blockchain, agtech and sustainability sectors, among others. More than US$800m has been invested in India, reflecting the innovation and potential of that market.
South African businesses
The Takealot Group, comprising Takealot.com, Mr D Food, and Superbalist performed well, despite the rebound in offline retail sales. The group grew GMV by 34% and revenue by 27%, remaining near breakeven, with a trading loss of US$7m. Superbalist and Mr D Food grew revenues by 43% and 62% respectively.
Media24 delivered strong results, underpinned by profitability in every part of its business. A recovery over the full year saw revenue increasing by 12% to US$257m and a trading profit of US$17m. This turnaround performance against the prior year's losses was bolstered mainly by continued strong growth in digital subscribers (27%) and advertising (16%), a robust recovery in print media, and excellent school textbook orders and trade sales. This was supported by the leaner cost base established in FY21.
Naspers Foundry continues to enable South Africa's nascent and vibrant tech ecosystem. The Foundry team backs and then supports early-stage tech companies in South Africa to help them achieve their full potential. Since April 2021, the team has invested nearly R350m in seven promising technology companies: mobility technology company WhereIsMyTransport (R45m); the digital insurance advice platform Ctrl (R34m); South Africa's first fully digital insurance platform, Naked (R120m); car subscription platform Planet42 (R54m); on-demand earned wage access platform Floatpays (R15m); B2B fresh produce marketplace Nile (R40m); and financial advisory platform LifeCheq (R40m). These seven investments take the Naspers Foundry portfolio to twelve companies with a combined investment of close on R700m since its launch in 2019. With a healthy pipeline of potential investments, in the coming months, Naspers Foundry expects to announce more backing for South Africa's tech companies of the future.
Naspers Labs is a youth social impact programme that aims to address youth unemployment in South Africa by helping young people gain in-demand digital skills and work readiness training, along with job exposure and job matching. Naspers Labs' mission is to help 10,000 young people access decent job opportunities and to create self- sustained micro businesses by 2026. To date, Naspers Labs has trained 2 274 young people, created 1 772 entry level jobs in the tech sector and supported 31 micro enterprises. In doing so, Labs is addressing the skills and educational needs that South Africa's youth require to become productive participants as the economy becomes more digitally driven.
Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO, Naspers South Africa, commented:
"The opportunity that technology presents in South Africa in creating jobs, growing small and medium enterprises and unlocking economic growth is tremendous. Through Naspers Labs we are training graduates to participate in an increasingly digital economy, while through Naspers Foundry we are investing in entrepreneurs who are building the next big technology companies. We believe that investment in technology has the power transform the economy, sustain jobs, boost growth and help South Africa transition to a more sustainable and equitable society."
Naspers is building a portfolio of asset-light, low carbon business models that enable us to combine our global reach with specialist and local expertise. Its businesses deliver positive impact for society and the planet by using technology to improve everyday life for billions of people. Examples include enabling a wider systemic transition to the circular economy, broader financial inclusion, improved access to education, and facilitating livelihoods.
Early in FY22, we committed to becoming carbon-neutral as a Group, which we achieved through both meaningful reductions and offsets from certified projects around the world that help drive social, economic, and environmental progress in local communities. We are working to reduce our corporate and group GHG footprint and decouple our operations and businesses from fossil fuels use, while setting groupwide, science-based multiyear targets that will drive our net-zero pathway. This is in line with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping global warming to 1.5°C.
We continue to improve on our ESG reporting and transparency standards. In May 2022 we were included as one of the 25 constituents of the recently announced AEX ESG Index on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange. We are also included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Europe.
Through technology investments, we are also able to encourage entrepreneurs focused on solutions to help others. For example, assistive technologies can create barrier free access to people living with disabilities. In India, where there are more than 70m differently abled people, the Prosus Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility (SICA) provides an annual grant and mentorship to Indian start-ups with the most innovative and promising solutions in the assistive technology space. Launched in 2020, the winners of SICA 2021 were announced in December 2021.
For full details of the Group's results, please visit www.naspers.com.
Established in 1915, Naspers has transformed itself to become a global consumer internet company and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Through Prosus, the group operates and invests globally in markets with long-term growth potential, building leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities. Prosus has its primary listing on Euronext Amsterdam and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Naspers is the majority owner of Prosus.
In South Africa, Naspers is one of the foremost investors in the technology sector and is committed to building its internet and ecommerce companies in the country. These include Takealot, Mr D Food, Superbalist, Autotrader, Property24 and PayU, in addition to Media24, South Africa's leading print and digital media business.
Naspers has a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (NPN.SJ) and a secondary listing on the A2X Exchange (NPN.AJ) in South Africa and has an ADR listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: NPSN).
For more information, please visit www.naspers.com
Naspers is focused on stimulating South Africa's local tech sector through Naspers Foundry. This is a R1.4 billion investment vehicle that invests in early-stage technology companies that seek to address big societal needs.
In 2019, Naspers Labs, a youth development programme designed to transform and launch South Africa's unemployed youth into economic activity, was launched. Naspers Labs focuses on digital skills and training, enabling young people to pursue tech careers.
Naspers for Good
Naspers employees are equally committed to giving back. Naspers for Good is a corporate philanthropy fund administered by a committee of employees in South Africa. Through the fund, Naspers forms partnerships with organisations that have a proven track record of delivering solutions for the most pressing challenges affecting our communities. Email [email protected] for more information.
Response to COVID-19
Naspers contributed R1.5 billion of emergency aid to support the South African government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This contribution consisted of R500 million towards the Solidarity Fund, and R1 billion worth of PPE sourced and distributed to South Africa's front-line healthcare workers. In addition, Naspers contributed R6.9 million to the Nelson Mandela Foundation's EachOne FeedOne programme to support families impacted by COVID-19 with meals for a year.