Naspers is looking at ways to reduce its dominance of the JSE, an issue that is hampering efforts to narrow a widening valuation gap between the company and its stake in Chinese Internet giant Tencent.
The global e-commerce operator makes up almost a fifth of the bourse, even after spinning off most of its assets into Amsterdam-listed Prosus in 2019. The stock has had a blistering start to the year, gaining more than 18%, the second best performer on the FTSE/JSE Africa Top40 Index.
“That leads to trading dynamics that don’t help the discount, and in time we are going to see if we can mitigate some of that,” Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Wednesday.
Naspers has long struggled to close the valuation gap between the South African company and its Chinese star asset, most notably through the creation of Prosus. Yet Naspers’ valuation of R1.56-trillion remains stubbornly short of its 31% stake in Tencent, which is worth about US$269-billion.
Most of those assets are now held by Prosus, in which Naspers retains a 72.5% stake. They include online food delivery, payments and education businesses around the world, which Van Dijk said are becoming “more profitable and visible to investors” — especially as the Covid-19 pandemic keeps people at home.
“That is what I spend most of my time on,” the CEO said. “When you look at the financial performance of our other businesses, they are growing faster than Tencent.” — Reported by Loni Prinsloo, Matthew Miller and Anna Edwards, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP