What to Expect Ahead of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s First Quarter Earnings


RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney weighed in today with his views on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), as the Chinese e-commerce giant will likely report its fiscal first-quarter results in early August.

The analyst is forecasting quarterly revenue of 21.6B RMB, above consensus at 21.1B RMB. His projections for EBITDA of 10.9B RMB (50% Margin) and Adjusted EPS of 3.44 RMB are below Street estimates of 11.3B RMB (54% Margin) and 3.66 RMB, respectively. Mahaney noted, “This will be Alibaba’s fourth quarter reporting as a public company. Based on intra-quarter data points and our model sensitivity work, we believe Street June Quarter estimates are reasonable, although our visibility is admittedly low, and we see greater likelihood of downside versus upside variance.”

Though BABA’s fiscal fourth-quarter results were strong and above expectations, Mahaney would not characterize the quarter or outlook as exceptional. He wrote, “In the fourth quarter, we saw declining GMV on easing comps, and BABA reported Desktop GMV decline for the first time. However, we saw good adoption of Mobile, which we expect will be a recurring theme in coming quarters and a clear source of growth going forward.”

Recently, the Street (including RBC) has been tweaking estimates lower due to the suspension of Online Lottery sales and a lower fee structure on the group-buying platform (“Juhuasuan”). To account for the online lottery suspension, Mahaney has lowered mobile GMV by ~5% and Mobile Revenue by ~10%. Mahaney has also lowered FY16E Mobile and Desktop take-rates by ~0.1% (2.44% to 2.34%) to account for the change in the fee structure on Juhuasuan.

The analyst concluded, “We continue to believe the BABA Long Thesis is very much intact. BABA remains the dominant Chinese ecommerce platform, with very robust and consistent Buyer & GMV growth rates (~40%), very high EBITDA margins (50%+), a very consistent management team and strategy, and significant option value in terms of non-retail revenue streams, international expansion, and a sizeable equity stake in Alipay.”

Mahaney rates Alibaba stock an Outperform with a price target of $105, which implies an upside of 31% from current levels.

According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Mark Mahaney has a total average return of 21.2% and a 62.7% success rate. Mahaney has a -16.8% average return when recommending BABA, and is ranked #17 out of 3694 analysts.




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