Paytm records quarterly loss of Rs 474 crore, expenses rise to Rs 1,600 crore

Bengaluru: One97 Communications Ltd., the entity that operates leading digital payments service Paytm, said losses widened last quarter as the newly-listed company struggled to make money off transactions that slowed during the pandemic.

The company reported a loss of Rs 474 crore ($63 million) in the quarter ended September from Rs 436 crore in the same period a year ago. It’s the first earnings report since Paytm pulled off India’s biggest IPO just days ago.

Total income rose to Rs 1,130 crore last quarter, from Rs 760 crore a year ago. Revenues rose over 60%, while total expenses jumped to nearly Rs 1,600 crore from Rs 1,170 crore a year ago, the company said.

Investors will scrutinize the numbers for clues as to whether the fintech giant deserves its valuation. Paytm tumbled more than 35% over its first two days of trading, one of the worst initial showings by a major technology company since the dot-com bubble era of the late 1990s.

Payments Services Business

Despite the losses, revenues from financial services grew, buoyed by growth in lending. Income from commerce services rose to Rs 8380 lakh– a 69% year-on-year rise — as Covid recoveries spurred a recovery in spending on travel and entertainment. Revenues from cloud services grew to Rs 160 crore, up 37% on-year, amid increased advertising.

“We have maintained the growth momentum in our payments services business, expanded our financial services business aggressively and are on our way to pre-Covid volumes for Commerce and Cloud services,” Paytm said in a statement. “Paytm has seen a strong second quarter of FY’22, which is a testimony to the strong two-sided ecosystem of consumers and merchants that we have built.”

Global Technology

Gross merchandise value, or the total value of goods and services sold, grew 107% to Rs 190 crore last quarter, and the momentum continued in October, Paytm said. The number of merchants on Paytm’s platform, where it leads over rivals, grew to 230 lakh in the second quarter of fiscal 2022, up from 185 lakh in the corresponding period in the previous year.

In recent years, competition has grown for Paytm as global technology giants such as Inc., Meta Platforms Inc. and Alphabet Inc. vie with a raft of startups for users.

Paytm’s dismal coming-out party has stood in stark contrast to the spectacular debuts of tech peers such as food delivery startup Zomato Ltd. and beauty retailer FSN E-Commerce Ventures, which owns Nykaa.

Digital Payments

Its gyrations spurred concerns about the sustainability of an Indian stock-market boom that has lured $17 billion of foreign inflows over the past year and stoked a trading frenzy among individual investors.

Noida-headquartered One97 was founded almost two decades ago by Vijay Shekhar Sharma. The son of a school teacher, he grew up in a town in Aligarh, in central India, and studied engineering in New Delhi, where he taught himself English. He entered digital payments in 2014 and got a massive lift when India canceled high-value currency notes toward the end of 2016. (Bloomberg)