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Lyubov Pronina, Chris Spillane11 Jul 2013 14:42
Naspers plans to add to its portfolio of overseas assets which already includes a 34% stake in Tencent, China’s biggest Internet company. (Reuters)
Naspers, which has stakes in China’s Tencent Holdings and Russia’s mail.ru Group, is considering selling as much as $1-billion in debt to fund acquisitions, according to three people familiar with the talks but who asked not to be identified because the talks were private.
Naspers began a bond road show on July 8 to gauge investor appetite for debt sold by its unit Myriad International Holdings. The company, based in Cape Town, is expanding its Internet business through acquisitions to take advantage of fast-growing emerging markets.
Naspers will use the proceeds for “future acquisitions and the repayment of existing credit facilities,” the company said in a July 2 filing.
Meloy Horn, the head of investor relations for Naspers, declined to comment.
In particular, Naspers plans to add to its portfolio of overseas assets.
Naspers was one of three investors in a $200-million funding round for Flipkart Online Services, the Indian online retailer said yesterday. The stock gained as much as 3.5% and increased 1.6% to R769.56 as of 10:29am in Johannesburg trading on Thursday , the highest since September 1994.
Naspers has gained 42% this year, the second-best performer after Mondi Group in the FTSE/JSE Africa Top40 index of South Africa’s largest companies, which has increased 3.2%.
Naspers is the latest South African company to consider raising debt. Eskom Holdings needs to plug a R191-billion ($19-billion) funding gap to avert a repeat of blackouts that closed mines and factories for the country’s main electricity provider in 2008.
Transet plans to sell as much as $1-billion by the year-end in the country’s first rand bond to foreign investors, the state-owned ports and rail operator’s cheif executive office said this month.
Naspers has a long-term debt rating of Baa3 with a stable outlook, according to Moody’s Investors Service. That’s the lowest investment grade as defined by the New York-based ratings firm. It had cash and cash equivalents of R15.8-billion for the year ending March compared with R9.8-billion a year earlier.– Bloomberg
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