Alibaba’s stock falls after earnings miss, but company plans large buyback boost

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is pouring billions of dollars more into its stock-buyback program, which management says indicates confidence in the business.

The Chinese-commerce giant announced Wednesday that it was boosting its buyback program by $25 billion such that it now has more than $35 billion remaining on its authorization through the next three fiscal years.

has been making more of a commitment top capital returns recently, having announced three months back that its board had approved an annual cash dividend of $1 per American depositary share.

The news of Alibaba’s enhanced buyback program came alongside the company’s fiscal-third quarter results, which brought a slight miss on the bottom line.

The company reported quarterly net income of 10.7 billion renminbi ($1.5 billion), or 5.65 renminbi per American depositary share, down from 46.8 billion renminbi, or 17.91 renminbi per ADS, in the year-earlier period.

On an adjusted basis, Alibaba earned 18.97 renminbi per share, down from 19.26 renminbi a share a year before, while analysts were modeling 19.12 renminbi.

Shares of Alibaba were off about 3% in premarket action Wednesday.

Revenue for the December quarter rose to 260.3 billion renminbi from 247.8 billion renminbi and matched the FactSet consensus view.

Cloud revenue increased 3% from a year before, while revenue from the Taobao and Tmall e-commerce platforms was up 2%. Alibaba called out strong growth in order volume and the number of transacting buyers but noted that average order value fell.

Within the cloud, the company said it was continuing to “improve revenue quality by reducing the revenue from low-margin project-based contracts.” At the same time, the company called out healthy growth in revenue from public-cloud products and services, which it said helped improve profits for the unit.

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