June 18, 2020 / 5:38 PM / 2 months ago

S.Africa's Naspers says earnings for year ended March to fall 10-16%

* Earnings to drop on higher investments in food delivery

* EPS will be impacted due to Prosus, Multichoice listing

* Growth could take hit due to coronavirus in FY2021

JOHANNESBURG, June 18 (Reuters) - South African media and e-commerce behemoth Naspers Ltd said on Thursday its core headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the full year ended March are likely to drop by 10-16%.

The drop in core HEPS - the main profit measure in South Africa - is mostly due to the group’s investments to drive growth in its food delivery business, the company said.

Core HEPS is a measure of the operating performance of a company, and excludes gains or losses from other items.

South Africa’s most valuable company said its core HEPS is likely to fall between $0.78 and $1.23, down from $7.57 in 2019.

It will be announcing its results on June 29.

The company, which owns almost a third of Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, offloaded some of its more valuable e-commerce businesses into a separate entity - Prosus NV last year and listed it on Euronext in Amsterdam.

Naspers holds 72.49% of Prosus, which in turns runs an array of global technology and internet companies from China, India Russia to Brazil in businesses ranging from e-commerce, food delivery, education, etc.

The core earnings per share of the company will also come down for the year due to the Prosus listing in September which led to a larger base of shareholders coming into the company, Naspers said.

Its listing of Africa’s biggest pay-TV company MultiChoice Group Limited in 2019 financial year will also impact earnings, it said.

Naspers, which also runs South Africa’s biggest e-commerce firm takealot.com, cautioned that it might see an impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its annual results for the current financial year ending March 2021.

But added that the company has “sufficient liquidity to provide our businesses with the appropriate level of funding as well as invest in external opportunities.” (Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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