China's top e-commerce platform Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Thursday reported its first quarterly operating loss since going public in 2014 due to a record anti-monopoly fine.
Its US-listed shares fell more than 3% in volatile premarket trading, even as the company forecast 2022 revenue above market expectations, betting that the broader pandemic-driven shift to online shopping will remain resilient.
But the strong outlook was overshadowed by a regulatory crackdown that resulted in the suspension of a $37 billion IPO of its affiliate Ant Group and a $2.8 billion fine for anti-competitive business practices.
The fine by China's markets regulator in April was the largest-ever of its kind.
Alibaba forecast annual revenue to be 930 billion yuan ($144.12 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 2022, above analysts' average estimate of 928.25 billion yuan.
It posted a net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders of 5.48 billion yuan, or 1.99 per American depository share (ADS), mainly due to the anti-monopoly fine.
Excluding items, Alibaba earned 10.32 yuan per ADS, below expectation of 11.11 yuan.
Core commerce revenue rose 72% to 161.37 billion yuan in the quarter, powered by the company's China retail marketplaces and ongoing consumer adoption of e-commerce in the wake of the pandemic.
Revenue rose to 187.4 billion yuan ($29.03 billion) in the three months ended 31 March, higher than 180.41 billion yuan forecast by 30 analysts compiled by Refinitiv.
Alibaba's US listed shares have fallen more than 30% since hitting a record high in late October when its founder Jack Ma delivered a speech in Shanghai criticising China's financial regulators.