JOYY Inc.’s Financial Report Showcases Impressive Bottom-Line Performance

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Written By Kevin MacDonald

JOYY Inc.’s (NASDAQ: YY) most recent Q4 2023 financial report showcased an impressive bottom-line performance that exceeded expectations, signaling potential for growth.

Despite this, concerns loom regarding JOYY’s profitability in the upcoming year, potentially deviating from consensus estimates due to several underlying factors.

JOYY Inc.’s Earnings Outperformance

JOYY reported a notable 28% year-over-year increase in net profit attributable to shareholders, reaching $64.2 million for Q4 2023.

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This figure notably surpassed the consensus bottom-line forecast by 23%. A significant contributor to this earnings beat was a 14% decrease in operating costs, attributed to optimized sales and marketing strategies focusing on ROI and the effectiveness of user acquisition.

Despite these positive indicators, JOYY’s profit margins may face pressure in 2024 compared to the previous year, driven by a combination of factors, including increased operational investments and challenges associated with its e-commerce venture, Shopline.

Investment and Operational Strategies

JOYY has signaled intentions to reinvest operating profits into activities aimed at driving revenue growth, which could result in escalated expenses. Additionally, the Shopline business, still in its nascent stages and currently loss-making, is expected to take time to achieve profitability, potentially impacting overall margins.

Analyst projections anticipate a contraction in JOYY’s normalized net margin by 1.3 percentage points to 11.6% for FY 2024, suggesting that efforts to balance profit and growth could lead to decreased margins due to capital allocation towards reinvestment and the Shopline business.

Regulatory Challenges and the YY Live Deal

JOYY’s planned $3.6 billion sale of its YY Live business to Baidu (BIDU) encountered regulatory hurdles, leading to Baidu withdrawing from the acquisition.

This development leaves JOYY in discussions regarding the future of YY Live, with the failed transaction likely impacting the valuation of JOYY’s domestic live-streaming business.

Despite these challenges, JOYY boasts a strong balance sheet with $3.685.6 million in cash and investments, partly thanks to the divestment proceeds from the YY Live disposal.

Capital Return to Shareholders

JOYY may potentially increase capital returns to shareholders through share repurchases, having allocated $25 million to buybacks since the start of the year.

With approximately half a billion dollars remaining in its buyback authorization, there is anticipation for enhanced share repurchase activity in the upcoming months.

Top-Line Growth Outlook

JOYY’s guidance for Q1 2024 forecasts revenue of $551.5 million, indicating a potential narrowing of year-over-year revenue contraction.

Analysts project a slight positive sales growth for FY 2024, marking a potential return to revenue expansion driven by reinvestment strategies and growth in non-live streaming businesses.

Final Assessment

Taking into account JOYY Inc.’s financial performance, corporate actions, and growth prospects, a Neutral view on the stock is warranted.

Credit: DepositPhotos

The company’s current valuation, reflected by a subdued price-to-revenue multiple, mirrors the cautious outlook based on its modest revenue growth forecast for FY 2023-2027.

Potential Headwinds to Look Out For

While JOYY Inc. demonstrates strong operational capabilities and strategic foresight, potential headwinds related to profitability margins, regulatory approvals, and the execution of growth strategies necessitate a balanced investment perspective.


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