March 2, 2020 / 1:00 PM / a month ago forecasts sales growth in coronavirus-hit China, shares rise

(Reuters) - China’s Inc (JD.O) on Monday forecast at least a 10% rise in revenue for the coronavirus-hit first quarter after posting better-than-expected quarterly results, sending its shares up about 6% in premarket trading.

A sign of China's e-commerce company is seen at its shop at a mall in Shanghai, China October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/Files

JD’s forecast is in sharp contrast to that of bigger rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N), which warned last month that revenue would fall in the fourth quarter as the coronavirus epidemic took a toll on economic activity in China.

However, JD’s estimated revenue of at least 133 billion yuan ($19.09 billion), according to Reuters’ calculation, fell short of analysts’ average expectation of 137.32 billion yuan.

The forecast reflects the company’s current expectations, which is subject to change in light of uncertainties related to how the coronavirus outbreak develops, JD said in a statement.

The fast-spreading virus, which is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has killed more than 3,000 people across the globe, with China accounting for the vast majority of deaths.

The company said it had partnered with over 50 supermarket chains as well as nearly 30 community grocery chains in China for door-to-door delivery of fresh produce in coronavirus-hit areas.

JD’s total net revenue rose to 170.68 billion yuan in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from 134.83 billion yuan a year earlier. Analysts were expecting revenue of 166.72 billion yuan, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Separately, the company said Chief Financial Officer Sidney Huang would retire in September and be replaced by JD Retail’s finance chief, Sandy Xu.

Sales from JD’s product unit, which includes online retail sales, surged about 25% to 149.71 billion yuan.

Excluding items, the company earned 0.54 yuan per American depositary share, above analysts’ average estimate of 0.44 yuan.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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