11 July 2019

South Africa: Taxman May Get a R7 Billion Boost From Naspers's Prosus Listing

analysis

The listing of Naspers offshoot Prosus is a big deal. A very big deal. Naspers is now as valuable as AngloAmerican, MTN, Shoprite, Sasol, Woolworths and Goldfields put together. And because it's so big, the tax implications are big too. For one thing, government stands to make R7-billion or so from capital gains tax alone on the deal. The tax implications for shareholders will be huge too. So what to do?

The tax implications of corporate deals are normally not the most important thing. But because Naspers is such a huge company in SA terms, anything it does has massive implications. The decision to hive off a big chunk of the company, to be called Prosus, on to the Amsterdam stock exchange leaves shareholders with a tax dilemma.

The company that has done a lot of work on this subject, not entirely uncontroversially (as we will see later in the story), is local stockbroker Anchor, whose senior equity analyst Mike Gresty spelt out the dilemma in a recent note to clients.

The plan is that Prosus will take over Naspers's international assets, leaving about 25% of Prosus to be held directly by its shareholders, which means Naspers will have a...

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