Alibaba still is not a public company, though that could soon change, but the firm’s status is not preventing it from making waves for other public companies. For example, shares of Yahoo (NasdaqGS: YHOO), which owns 24% of Alibaba, are up 6.2% Wednesday on volume that is already nearly double the daily average.
The KraneShares CSI China Internet Fund (NasdaqGM: KWEB) is also getting some much needed relief following Yahoo’s first-quarter earnings report, a report which some market observers argue will be the proxy for valuing Alibaba as it nears its hotly anticipated IPO. Shares of KWEB are higher by 1.7% Wednesday.
During its earnings presentation, Yahoo disclosed that Alibaba reported fourth-quarter results of $1.4 billion, more than double the year earlier period. Revenue jumped 66%, to nearly $3.1 billion.
“Alibaba posted its highest profit margins in the fourth quarter since its numbers were first released publicly in late 2009. Gross profit margin of 78% tied a figure posted in the September quarter of 2010, when Alibaba’s revenue was just about one-ninth of what it is today. Meanwhile operating profit margin of 54% topped Alibaba’s previous record, dating back to late 2009, of 51%,” notes KraneShares Managing Director Brendan Ahern.
Robust results from Alibaba ahead of its IPO, which could happen this summer, perhaps sooner, come at a critical time when some investors are increasingly apprehensive about the lack of profits sported by some newly public companies. [Hot, Unprofitable IPOs Look for ETF Homes]
Still, the average first-day return for IPOs this year is 18%, according to Renaissance Capital data, and it should not be forgotten that the best first-day return for any U.S.-listed IPO since 2001 was Baidu (NasdaqGS: BIDU), which more than quadrupled on its first day as a public company. Baidu is China’s largest Internet search firm and KWEB’s third-largest holding at 7.5% of the ETF’s weight.