MEDIA group Naspers posted a 15% gain in full-year earnings on Wednesday, boosted by solid growth in its money-spinning internet business.

Naspers said core headline earnings per share rose to 1850c in the year to end-March from 1612c a year earlier.

Naspers has transformed itself from an apartheid-era newspaper publisher to a global multimedia business by buying or taking stakes in emerging-market internet companies such as China's Tencent and Russia's Mail.ru.

Revenue was 19% higher at R39,49bn, buoyed by the internet businesses where revenue jumped 59%.

Growth in the subscriber base resulted in pay-television revenue increasing 15%, while print revenue was up 12%.

The pay-television segment recorded satisfactory progress in attracting subscribers and is focused on expanding into online services and the delivery of digital terrestrial television services.

Naspers, which also has stakes in Polish e-commerce firm MIH Allegro and Buscape, a price-comparison site, has said it will focus on growing organically and developing new technologies, saying internet valuations are inflated.

It has spent heavily to grow its internet and pay-television businesses but investors are now impatient to start reaping some of profits made by its Chinese and Russian cash cows.

The board has recommended that the annual gross dividend be increased by 24% to 335 per listed N ordinary share, from 270c previously; and to 67c per unlisted A ordinary share, from 54c before. If approved by shareholders at the AGM on August 31, dividends will be payable to shareholders on Tuesday, September 25.

With Reuters