India: Paytm eyes IPO by Oct, hopes to break even in 18 mths

FILE PHOTO: A worker adjusts a hoarding of Paytm, a digital payments firm, in Ahmedabad, India, January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Indian digital payments firm Paytm expects to launch its initial public offering (IPO) at around the end of October, pending regulatory approvals, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Paytm, which has filed for a 166 billion rupee ($2.2 billion) IPO that will likely be the largest ever in India, also expects to break even in 18 months, the source said, declining to be named as the matter is not public.

Paytm‘s IPO plan comes at a time when several first-generation homegrown startups in India prepare to go public on domestic bourses, led by food delivery firm Zomato which made a stellar stock market debut last week.

“Hopefully Paytm will be able to go out before Diwali,” the source said, referring to the Hindu festival of lights in November.

The startup, which counts China’s Ant Group and Japan’s SoftBank among its backers, narrowed its operating loss to 16.55 billion rupees in the financial year to end-March 2021 from 24.68 billion a year before.

Paytm is on the path to profitability now,” the source said. “If the company continues the way it is doing right now 18 months is quite reasonable, assuming there is no COVID-related impact to the business.”

Paytm declined to comment.

Launched over a decade ago as a platform for mobile phone topups, Paytm has grown quickly into a fintech firm offering services including insurance, gold sales, bank deposits, remittances and movie and flight ticketing.

Paytm‘s online and offline payments and its lending business are core focus areas for the company, but the firm also wants to capitalise on the growing opportunities in gaming, travel and ticketing and financial services such as mutual funds and equities trading, the source said.

The company is pushing its payments hardware such as point-of-sale machines and other devices to merchants, the source said, adding Paytm‘s software, which helps merchants manage their operations, would also be a key business over the next three to five years.

Among other rivals, Paytm‘s merchant payments business will also compete with a combine of Indian conglomerate Reliance and Facebook’s WhatsApp, which have committed to making digital payments easier for India’s mom-and-pop stores.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.