Naspers issued a trading update 45 minutes after the JSE closed on Monday, warning shareholders that it expects a major decline in half-year profits.
It warned that headline earnings per share for its continuing operations would decline by between 100% and 108% from $3.51 to between -$0.28 and -$0.02.
Core headline earnings looked somewhat better, but Naspers still projected a decline of 52.3% to 59.7% — from $3.94 to between $1.59 and $1.88 for continuing operations.
“Shareholders are reminded that the board considers core headline earnings an appropriate indicator of the operating performance of the group, as it adjusts for non-operational items,” Naspers stated.
The company attributed its headline earnings decline to lower profitability across our associates.
This includes its share of Tencent’s fair value losses on financial instruments of $372 million, compared to fair value gains of $1.0bn in the prior period.
“Headline earnings are also impacted by our increased investment in earlier stage ecommerce extensions of autos, convenience, and credit,” Naspers stated.
“The significant decrease in earnings per share relates to a gain of $12.3 billion realised on the sale of a 2% interest in Tencent in the prior year compared to an expected gain of only $2.8 billion on the sell down of Tencent shares in the current period to fund the open-ended share-repurchase program announced on 27 June 2022,” Naspers said.
It notified shareholders that it expects an 81% to 88% decrease in earnings per share from $30.14 to between $3.52 and $5.64.
“Impairment charges and dilution losses related to investments in associates are expected to be approximately $1.8 billion higher in the current period,” said Naspers.
“These are excluded from headline and core headline earnings per share.”
Naspers subsidiary Prosus issued a similar warning at the same time.
Its core headline earnings are also expected to decrease by between 51% and 58%, headline earnings by between 97% and 104%, and earnings per share by between 80% and 87%.
It gave the same explanation for the decreases as Naspers — Tencent and lower profitability from associates.
“More details will be published with the condensed consolidated interim financial statements on Wednesday, 23 November 2022,” Naspers and Prosus said.