Yesterday, June 8, Alibaba (BABA) forecast that revenue would climb by 49% for fiscal 2018. That’s a solid 10 percentage points above the recent projection from Wall Street analysts. The New York traded ADRs climbed almost 10% on the news yesterday. They’re off 2.04% today against the background of a 1.80% drop in the NASDAQ Composite as a whole.
I hold Alibaba in both my 12-18 month Jubak Picks portfolio (with a gain of 66.34% since I added them to that portfolio back on October 20, 2015) and in my long-term 50 Stocks portfolio (with a 129% gain since February 8, 2016.)
Some of the enthusiasm comes from investor who are looking for a replay of last year. At the company’s investor day in June 2016 the company forecast 48% revenue growth. In the following year Alibaba raised that forecast and then beat even the higher forecast when it reported in April 2017. (Revenue grew by 56% year over year.)
The presentation certainly had its share of hyperbole. For example, the company said that its goal for Gross Merchandise Value in fiscal 2020 was $1 trillion. (Gross Merchandise Value is the value of all the goods that move through Alibaba’s storefronts.)
But nonetheless the numbers were impressive on a number of fronts.
For example, Alibaba’s relatively recently launched cloud services business is near break even.
Cash flow hit $9 billion in the last fiscal year and is forecast to grow by 40% in the next two years.
In the Tmall and Taobao commence units, which now provide all of Alibaba’s operating profits, transactions account for about 11% of total Chinese retail sales. That’s a very impressive number, showing how deeply imbedded Alibaba is in the Chinese economy, but it does leave plenty of growth ahead of the company even in its home market.
About 80% of total revenue comes from mobile with total monthly active mobile users up to 507 million in March 2017.
As of today, June 9, I’m raising my target price on Alibaba to $170 a share. The risk in Alibaba is in the company’s ties to the Chinese economy. If that economy tanks, so will Alibaba’s ADRs. (Along with global equity markets in general, of course.) A modest slowdown in growth in China, however, should not endanger the company’s ability to grow considering its ability to take share in China’s retail economy and its expansion in markets outside of China.