Alibaba passes earnings milestones, silent on SEC probe

Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:33pm EDT
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By Rishika Sadam and Paul Carsten

BENGALURU/BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N: Quote) posted its best revenue growth since before the e-commerce titan's listing in late 2014, lifting its shares to their highest level in a year.

But Alibaba was silent on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into its accounting practices, which have long been the subject of criticism.

In the three months to June 30, Alibaba also made more money from mobile shopping than from PCs for the first time, helping to send its shares up by more than 5 percent to $92.10 in New York, its highest level in more than a year.

"We never had any doubt that we would be able to deliver increasing monetization of our users," Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai told a post-earnings conference call.

"This is a decoupling of revenue from GMV (gross merchandise volume)," he said, referring to a measure of the total value of goods transacted on Alibaba's online shopping platforms.

Despite GMV growth remaining low compared to previous years, rising 24 percent to 837 billion yuan, Alibaba is squeezing more money out of its e-commerce business, chiefly from advertising.

That translated to quarterly revenues of 32.15 billion yuan ($4.84 billion), a 59 percent leap from the previous year and the highest growth rate since late 2013.

Analysts had on average had expected revenue of 30.17 billion yuan, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.   Continued...

A sign of Alibaba Group is seen at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2016 in Shanghai, China, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo   - RTX2G2TA