Alibaba's investment in SingPost delayed for the third time to Oct 31

An employee walking past a logo of Alibaba Group on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, on Nov 4, 2013.
An employee walking past a logo of Alibaba Group on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, on Nov 4, 2013.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - A joint venture agreement inked last July between Singapore Post and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is yet to materialise, as more time is needed to work on the deal, SingPost said in its fourth quarter earnings report filed to the Singapore Exchange on Tuesday (May 10).

Last year, Alibaba had agreed to increase its equity investment in the postal and logistics group by buying new shares equivalent to a 5 per cent stake in SingPost.

Both parties have agreed to extend the long-stop date on the agreement to October 31 from May 31, as "longer time is required to fulfil the conditions precedent", SingPost said on Tuesday.

This is the third time the deadline is being extended. A first extension was announced in November last year, and a second extension was announced in February.

Alibaba had also agreed to acquire a 34 per cent stake in SingPost logistics unit Quantium Solutions International last year. This deal will also be finalised by Oct 31, in light of new business opportunities arising from related investments, SingPost said.

Singapore Post on Tuesday also reported a fourth quarter net profit of S$105.4 million, up 196.4 per cent from a year ago, on the back of one-off divestment gains.

Underlying net profit in the three months ended March 31 fell 20.1 per cent from a year ago to S$31.8 million, due mainly to a fall in rental income as redevelopment of the Singapore Post Centre mall commenced in the third quarter, as well as higher finance expenses.

Fourth quarter revenue rose 27.7 per cent to S$317.6 million, boosted by growth in e-commerce related activities and contributions from newly acquired business units.

Fourth quarter earnings per share was 4.36 cents, up from a restated 1.49 cents a year ago.

Net asset value per share was 72.26 cents as of March, up from 68.37 cents as at March last year.

SingPost has proposed a final dividend of 2.5 cents per share, amounting to a full year payout of 7 cents per share.

marilee@sph.com.sg