Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

Better-than-expected quarterly results from China’s Tencent gave the JSE a R70bn boost on Wednesday.

Tencent, which owns the WeChat messaging platform, said profit in the first quarter of 2018 rose 61% to RMB23.3bn (R45.5bn) as revenue increased 48% to RMB73.5bn and margin grew. The rise in profit was partly thanks to one-off gains.

Naspers, which owns 31.2% of Hong Kong-listed Tencent, closed 5.2% higher at R3,260 on Wednesday – raising its market capitalisation by R70bn.

That gain in value dwarfs the R27bn Naspers raised earlier in May by selling its stake in Indian e-commerce business Flipkart to Walmart.

Naspers also recently raised HK$77bn (R122bn) by trimming its stake in Tencent.

While consensus expectations were less optimistic, independent investment analyst Mark Ingham said Tencent’s quarterly results “came in as I expected”.

“You should expect earnings growth to lag revenue, with margins settling in the 30% area in the next couple of years,” Ingham told Business Day from Hong Kong.

Most analysts were expecting margin pressure owing to Tencent’s investments in its operations, and both Tencent and Naspers’s shares were trending lower in the days ahead of the quarterly results.

Tencent CEO and chairman Ma Huateng said that in addition to new mobile game launches, Tencent had seen “notable progress in areas such as mobile payments, cloud services, online financial services and smart retail”.

Tencent’s results show that WeChat has more than 1-billion monthly active users.

The company said revenue from its value-added services business increased 34% to RMB46.9bn in the first quarter, while online gaming revenue grew 26% to RMB28.8bn, thanks to higher income from smartphone games.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za

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