Alibaba 2Q revenue soars 46% ahead of IPO

August 28, 2014, 8:50 AM UTC

The money keeps pouring in to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd ahead of its initial public offering.

China’s largest e-commerce company, in which Yahoo has a 22.4% stake, said in an SEC filing that its revenue rose 46% on the year in the second quarter of this year to $2.54 billion, thanks to strong growth in sales through mobile platforms. Mobile devices accounted for 33% of overall gross merchandise value in the quarter, up from 27% in the first quarter.

Net income more than tripled to $1.99 billion, or 84 cents a share, while free cash flow was $1.71 billion.

However, the company also said is growth had come at a price: it has now fully drawn down an $8 billion credit facility and has arranged another $3 billion revolving credit line that it hasn’t yet used.

The results are likely to be the last Alibaba disclosed ahead of its IPO, which is tentatively scheduled for September and is likely to be the largest ever by a tech company. A target price range for the shares may be published as early as next week, according to media reports.

Analysts have touted an IPO size of up to $20 billion, which would wipe out the company’s debt (and more) at a stroke. But the company said it intends to use the proceeds of the share sale for “general corporate purposes”, rather than specifically to pay down debt, and said it wouldn’t transfer the funds to mainland China.

As reported, the company has recently launched an e-commerce platform in the U.S., with a view to ultimately taking on Inc (AMZN). It has also made a flurry of acquisitions to diversify its business, but has run into problems with some of them. It said earlier in August that it had discovered accounting irregularities at film production company ChinaVision, now renamed Alibaba Pictures.

Alibaba’s filing plays heavily to the growth potential of the Chinese e-commerce market. The company said it now has 279 million active buyers, up 9% on the year, placing an average of 52 orders a year.

That is still only a fraction of the Chinese market’s overall potential. The company reckons that China has 618 million internet users out of a total population of 1.35 billion, while online shopping still only accounts for 8% of total Chinese consumption.