Business & Economy

Alibaba ups stock buyback plan but shares continue to dip

Shanghai, China, Dec 28 (EFE).- Alibaba on Monday said it had upsizes its share repurchase program from $6 billion to $10 billion.

In a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the embattled Chinese e-commerce giant said the expanded repurchase program approved by its board of directors began earlier in the last quarter of 2020 and would last through 2022.

“(The) share repurchase program will be effective for a two-year period through the end of 2022. The company commenced the execution of its share repurchase program this quarter,” The Alibaba statement said.

Alibaba, however, did not explain the reasons why it decided to upsize the buyback plan.

Its stocks have plummeted in recent days after China’s market regulator launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba last week.

The Alibaba shares in Hong Kong continued to dip in Monday trade. That came after

The group’s share fell 5.43 percent, in an indication that the initial response of investors to the enhanced buyback program was tepid at best.

The Monday losses and the decline of more than 8 percent on Thursday, when the Chinese regulators announced the investigation, means that each Alibaba share is now worth almost 30 percent less than at the end of October, its peak for the year.

The group has been facing several problems recently.

It was fined for dodging China’s antitrust procedures and the regulators on Sunday ordered its affiliate fintech subsidiary Ant Group to rectify its businesses.

The central bank accused Ant Group of “turning a blind eye” to regulatory issues.

Bank Deputy Governor Pan Gongsheng, in a statement, said advantages in the market were used to exclude other operators from the same industry which had harmed the rights and interests of consumers.

Regulators required Ant to improve transparency and protect the privacy of user data, put an end to unfair competition practices, and apply “strictly” regulatory requirements in offering products from the credit, insurance, or financial management.

Ant must establish its financial companies as per the law and set right any irregularities in its insurance, wealth management, and credit businesses, and run its asset-backed securities business under regulations.

Pan asked Ant Group to understand the seriousness of the situation and the need for rectification.

Pan said the group must comply with the requirements of the regulations and formulate a rectification plan and its corresponding implementation schedule as soon as possible.

The authorities had cited similar reasons when regulators dramatically intervened to halt Ant’s IPO, which Alibaba had planned to be the largest in the stock market history.

However, analysts say there is a rift between the founder of Alibaba and the largest shareholder of Ant, Jack Ma, and the country’s financial authorities.

Ma, who is also the richest man in China, has harshly criticized the country’s financial regulators who follow a conservative approach that prevents credit from flowing to smaller companies and individuals. EFE


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