Alibaba's share price unsteady on mixed results for the full year

Courtney Goldsmith
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CeBIT 2015 Technology Trade Fair
Executive chairman Jack Ma met with Donald Trump earlier this year to pledge jobs in America (Source: Getty)

Alibaba's share price faltered after it announced a $6bn stock buyback plan alongside a mixed bag of full-year results.

The figures

The Chinese tech giant said revenue for the fourth quarter to the end of March increased 60 per cent to 38.58bn yuan (£4.3bn) compared with the previous year, beating analyst forecasts. Net income attributable to shareholders jumped 98 per cent to 10.65bn yuan, or 60 cents per share.

For the full year, revenue increased 56 per cent to 158.27bn yuan while net income attributable to shareholders was down 39 per cent to 43.68bn yuan.

Overall earnings in the quarter were hit by tax increases after a local tax reduction linked to Alibaba's investment in Chinese electronic retailer Suning Commerce Group expired. Adjusted earnings per share were 4.35 yuan, below estimates of 4.48 yuan.

Investors appeared to have mixed feelings about the results. The firm's New York Stock Exchange-listed shares fell at the market open, but slowly recovered throughout the day to down less than one per cent in after-hours trading.

Why it's interesting

Alibaba, which has an active user base of over 500m, was helped by the strength of China's e-commerce market.

However, the firm is targeting new business avenues, like cloud computing, big data, entertainment and offline retail. The firm's cloud business has seen huge growth - in the fourth quarter revenue jumped 103 per cent to 2.2bn yuan.

In February, the firm joined bricks-and-mortar retail conglomerate Bailian Group as it saw online growth slowing, and it has also started ramping up expansion outside of China.

Alibaba's share repurchase scheme, announced today, will replace its existing buyback programme.

What Alibaba said

Daniel Zhang, chief executive of Alibaba, said:

“Alibaba Group had another outstanding quarter and fiscal year, demonstrating our ability to successfully engage and monetise the half a billion consumers across our platforms.

“Our core commerce segment continued its significant growth and strong cash flow at large scale, enabling our aggressive investment in cloud computing, digital media and entertainment to drive the digital transformation of the economy and high-quality consumption across China."

Maggie Wu, chief financial officer, said:

“Our robust results demonstrate the strength of our core businesses, as well as the positive momentum of our emerging businesses, including cloud computing, where we continue to see strong growth and market leadership.”

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