Business

Alibaba's profit down as economic downturn hits exports

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Media captionJuliana Liu reports

Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba has reported a fall in fourth-quarter profits, the first in two years as the world economic downturn hit exports.

The firm, which connects Chinese firms with overseas buyers, saw profits fall 6% to 385.9m yuan ($61.3m; £38.8m) in the three months to 31 December.

It blamed the fall on "lacklustre economic conditions".

Alibaba, 43% owned by Yahoo, is reportedly planning a $3bn loan to take the firm into private hands.

The two firms are reportedly in negotiations over the value of Yahoo's stake, for which it paid $1bn in 2005.

The Alibaba Group has various businesses, including international trading website Alibaba.com, e-commerce website Taobao and an online payment service Alipay.

Alibaba, which has 76 million registered users, warned the weak global economic situation would continue to affect it in 2012.

"Cautious sentiment is restraining consumption in developed economies, which is negatively impacting emerging economies and developing nations," it said.

"China is unlikely to prove immune to the global slowdown."

Alibaba shares have been suspended since 9 February, pending an announcement over the deal to take the firm private.

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