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Alibaba announces $6 billion buyback but misses EPS forecast

19 May 2017, 09:27 | Melvin Schneider

Kim Kyung-Hoon ReutersAlibaba

Kim Kyung-Hoon  ReutersAlibaba

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s earnings lagged estimates after it swallowed a higher tax bill and splurged on the entertainment and cloud computing businesses that're fueling revenue growth.

The China-based e-commerce firm, which sells promotional products online, also announced a two-year stock buyback program valued at close to $6 billion.

Alibaba reported revenue of $5.61 billion, up 60% and beating the consensus estimate of $5.2 billion (35.87 billion yuan).

But the company's profit fell short of expectations, with a net income of US$1.55 billion, or 60 cents a share.

Mobile revenue for its Chinese e-commerce business increased 80 percent to US$13.18 billion, generating 80 percent of its total retail revenue in the country.

"Alibaba's Taobao platform is a clear leader in the C2C e-commerce sector, and its Tmall platform is the largest player in B2C e-commerce sector in 2016 with 57.5 per cent market share, followed by JD's 26.2 per cent and VIPShop's 3.6 per cent share", Nomura's analyst Shi Jialong wrote in a research note before the company released its results.

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Alibaba vice chairman Joseph Tsai told a conference call the company is seeking to capitalize on changes in the Chinese economy.

In October Alibaba Pictures took a minority shareholding in Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners, a film creation company that includes DreamWorks studios.

Alibaba also saw its cloud computing revenue climb 121 percent to US$968 million for the fiscal year, where its paying customer base grew 70 percent to 874,000. "Alibaba has done a lot of acquisitions this past year, so revenue growth might not be as fast as people expect", Zhao said.

Mobile monthly active users on Alibaba's China retail marketplaces reached 507 million in March, an increase of 97 million from a year earlier.

"Alibaba Group had another outstanding quarter and fiscal year, demonstrating our ability to successfully engage and monetize the half a billion consumers across our platforms", said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group.

"There is enormous potential for growing the user base of our core commerce platforms through conversion of users in our digital media and entertainment metrics as well as through the payment platform of our affiliate company Alipay".



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