Picture: BLOOMBERG
Picture: BLOOMBERG

Naspers surged 9.7% to R2,600 on Wednesday morning thanks in part to a decision by global index firm MSCI not to punish stocks with dual share classes.

MSCI said in a statement late on Tuesday that it had decided not to amend its benchmark indices to exclude or reduce the weighting of companies that give certain investors higher voting rights than others.

Naspers has a dual class share structure whereby its unlisted A shares have more voting rights than listed N shares. In the technology sector, such control structures are relatively common and are used to shield companies from hostile takeovers.

By 10.30am Naspers was trading 8.2% higher at R2,564.78.

Naspers also benefited on Wednesday from a resurgence of its main asset, Tencent, in Hong Kong. Tencent, which has lost ground in 2018, was up 5.9%.

“I would say that the decision by MSCI has played a role in Naspers being higher today,” said Vestact portfolio manager Michael  Treherne.

“Given how big Naspers is for the South African market — where many investors can’t own Naspers’s full weighting in the Top 40 index because it is higher than their maximum holding allocation — many Naspers shareholders would own it through emerging-market indices.

“If they had to drop out of the index, it would be a big hit in the short run for the Naspers share price.… That threat is now removed,” Treherne said.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za