Amazon, Alibaba Get Green Light To Deliver Alcohol In West Bengal


Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s (BABA) grocery venture BigBasket have been given the go-ahead to deliver alcohol in India’s eastern state of West Bengal.

According to a document seen by Reuters, West Bengal State Beverages Corp, the authorised agency to carry out online retail of liquor trade in the state, said Amazon was among the companies found to be eligible for registration with authorities. The company has been invited to sign a memorandum of understanding with the state, said the notice.

West Bengal is India’s fourth most populous state, with a population of more than 90 million people. The move would represent the U.S. e-commerce giant’s first foray into the country’s multi-billion-dollar market. Amazon has earmarked India as one of its key growth markets with $6.5 billion of commitments for investments.

Shares in Amazon have surged 60% since mid-March as stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic have been good for business. The internet colossus has been expanding operations during lockdown and responding to consumers’ needs, many of which switched to online retail for the first time during the global crisis.

The pandemic is also creating opportunities for companies like Amazon who are weathering the crisis well and are looking to increase its reach and boost market share in other geographies.

The stock rose less than 1% to $2,675.01 on Friday trading at an all-time high.

According to five-star analyst Laura Martin at Needham, the stock has even more room to advance. Martin last week initiated Amazon with a Buy rating and a $3,200 price target, forecasting that shares will gain another 20% in the short-term with a potential of being worth as much as $5,000 on a longer-term view.

The bullish outlook is based on what the analyst calls “Amazon’s hidden value multiplier”. One is a TAM (total addressable market) expansion multiplier, based on “AMZN’s track record of TAM-expanding decisions that elongate its growth runway, drive higher profitability, and lower shareholder risk via revenue-stream diversification.”

Martin praises Amazon’s skill for adding “enormous” new markets, or “areas of investment” that could not be seen “3-5 years prior to the investments.”

Overall, the stock scores 38 Buy ratings versus 2 Hold and 1 Sell rating adding up to a Strong Buy analyst consensus. The $2,746.78 average analyst price target implies a meager 2.9% upside potential in the coming 12 months. (See Amazon stock analysis on TipRanks).

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