Jack Ma’s Ant Financial posts $1.3 billion in profit

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Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group generated about 9.2 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) of profit in the March quarter, offering investors a glimpse of its earnings power in the run up to its mega initial public offering.

That’s an increase of about 560% compared with the same time last year. The company contributed 3 billion yuan in earnings for its backer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which owns 33% of Ant, according to the e-commerce platform’s first fiscal quarter earnings. Based on its equity share, that would roughly translate to 9.2 billion in profit for Ant. A representative for Ant declined to comment.

Ant is planning to conduct a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai in what could be the world’s largest IPO in years. The sale may value company at about $210 billion, based on Bernstein estimates, more than Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley combined.

The company -- a sprawling fintech platform that operates mobile payments, consumer credit business and money market funds -- is expanding beyond finance to become a gateway for everything from flight tickets to food delivery. It’s peddling its cloud computing and risk control technology to other financial and retail companies as well.

Like Alibaba, Ant has hit the brakes on its U.S. expansion as tensions between America and China have escalated. Ma said in 2018 that his promise to create 1 million jobs in the U.S. was impossible to fulfill because of trade tensions between the two super powers.

Instead, Ant has focused it offshore ambitions on building its presence in the rest of Asia, where it’s working with nine payment startups including the owners of Paytm in India and GCash in the Philippines.

Bloomberg News
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