Wednesday 11 September 2019

Competition hits Paytm hard

Competition hits Paytm hard Paytm’s losses widened 165% in the last financial year while revenue increased marginally, at a time when the digital payments leader faces increased competition from Google Pay and PhonePe.

Paytm’s parent One97 Communications posted Rs 3,959.6 crore in net losses for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019 against Rs 1,490 crore for the same period in the previous year, according to details released by the company that were shared with shareholders.

The company’s standalone revenue stood at Rs 3,319 crore, compared to Rs 3,229 crore in 2017-18.

On a consolidated basis, which includes businesses like Paytm Money for mutual fund investments, Paytm Financial Services, Paytm Entertainment Services and others, the company reported a net loss of Rs 4,217 crore.

This has ballooned 162% from Rs 1,604 crore in the previous year.

Paytm Money reported a net loss of Rs 36.8 crore in FY19, according to details around its subsidiaries listed out by the company.

Paytm’s financials were first reported by business news website Bloomberg Quint.

“For the last two years, we have been investing $1 billion each year to expand the digital payments ecosystem in our country. We will further invest about $3 billion in the next two years to scale the same,” a Paytm spokesperson said, responding to ET’s queries.

“We believe India is at the inflection point of digital payments and Paytm’s sole focus is towards solving the merchant payments and offering them financial services. We will invest Rs 20,000 crore in the next two years towards achieving this,” the spokesperson added.

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, who serves as managing director of the parent entity and owns 15.7% of the company, received remuneration of Rs 3 crore last year along with added benefits, the company said in the report.

The company has been reporting losses, but Sharma recently said it was looking to go public in the next two years.

While admitting that the roadmap was not ready yet, Sharma said he wanted Paytm to generate more cash before going public.

Paytm, which has moved away from pushing the cash guzzling incentivized peer to peer payments business, said it wants to push more merchant transactions on its platform rather than person-to-person payments. Further, the company wants to monetize the base by offering financial services to consumers and merchants on the basis of the data it generates.

As per latest numbers released by the company, Paytm recorded 1.2 billion merchant transactions in the first three months of 2019, done through 14 million retail stores.

The SoftBank- and Alibaba-backed payments company last raised $300 million from Berkshire Hathaway in 2018.

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