With accusations of anti-competitive behaviour in the South African market hovering over it, Naspers-owned e-commerce platform Takealot has reported a trading loss of $13 million (R224 million).
This emerged today after the JSE-listed Naspers announced its interim results for the six months ended 30 September.
According to Naspers, the Takealot Group, comprising Takealot.com, Mr D Food and Superbalist, grew gross merchandise volume (GMV) by 15% and revenue by 13%, with a trading loss of $13 million.
It notes Superbalist and Mr D Food grew GMV by 15% and 13%, respectively.
It has previously made losses. In its annual results for the year ended 31 March, the online retailer made a loss of R111 million, although it grew GVM by 34%.
The losses come amid reports that US-based e-commerce giant Amazon is set to open shop in South Africa to take on the likes of Takealot.
The recent Competition Commission Online Platforms Market Inquiry identified anti-competitive practices by companies such as Google, and SA’s largest e-commerce site Takealot.
In the provisional report findings, the competition watchdog highlighted concerns that monopoly tactics have been used by Takealot and Google to gain an unfair advantage over rivals, including the conglomeration of consumer data across numerous online platforms.
For instance, it noted, Takealot, which has a marketplace of over 5 800 sellers, distorts competition with sellers on its platform by unfairly channelling more money-making opportunities towards the e-commerce player’s own retail business.
Naspers SA CEO Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa.
Meanwhile, on other South African operations, Naspers says since its launch in 2019, Naspers Foundry has invested nearly R700 million and has 10 high-potential tech portfolio companies in fintech, marketplaces, mobility, edtech and agritech.
It notes that all are South Africa-focused companies that are leveraging technology to improve the everyday lives of ordinary South Africans.
In May, it adds, Naspers Foundry invested R40 million in Nile, a B2B marketplace connecting farmers to buyers of fresh produce, and helping to make quality food accessible to people across Southern Africa.
Naspers Foundry also built its growing fintech portfolio in the period, investing R40 million in LifeCheq, a fintech platform driving financial inclusion by democratising access to financial advice.
The company explains that Naspers Labs is a social impact programme that aims to address youth unemployment in South Africa by helping young people gain in-demand digital skills and work readiness training, along with job exposure and job matching.
Naspers Labs’ mission is to help young people access decent job opportunities and to support self-sustained micro businesses.
Since June 2021, it says, Naspers Labs has trained 2 684 young people, placed 1 772 young people in entry-level jobs in the tech sector and supported 31 micro entrepreneurs.
In doing so, it is addressing the skills and educational needs that South Africa’s youth require to become productive participants as the economy becomes more digitally driven, says the firm.
Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, Naspers SA CEO, comments: “We remain resolute in our belief that technology will be central to driving inclusive economic growth in South Africa and beyond.
“During the first half of this year, Naspers has continued to play a key part in stimulating the country’s local tech sector through Naspers Foundry and preparing young people for an increasingly digital workplace through our youth development programme, Naspers Labs.”