CEO Addresses Concerns, Says Profitability Its Focus

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As a listed company, Paytm is focussed on expansion and profitability: Paytm CEO Sharma

Paytm well poised to achieve EBITDA profitability by September 2023: Sharma

Have no immediate plans to venture overseas and are looking at India to generate profits, Paytm CEO said

Fintech major Paytm on Friday (August 19) held its first annual general meeting (AGM) since listing on the stock markets in November last year.

Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma answered a majority of questions of the shareholders as he tried to address investor concerns on the falling share prices of the financial services startup and its losses, sources said.

“As a listed company, Paytm is focussed on expansion and profitability,” Sharma said. 

He also reiterated that the company is well poised to achieve EBITDA profitability by September 2023.

Several shareholders expressed their views and asked questions regarding the company’s fortunes and the future roadmap. In response, Sharma elaborated on the fintech major’s performance in the preceding year and listed new initiatives launched by the company, the sources added.

Responding to a clutch of questions, the CEO touted India’s large market opportunity to fuel Paytm’s growth in the coming years. He said that the Noida-based company continues to deploy devices such as soundbox and electronic data capture (EDC) machines across the country to scale operations and increase its merchant base. 

Sharma reportedly also said that Paytm has no immediate plans to venture overseas and is looking at its India business to generate profits.

“The tech we are making is world-class. Our plan is to make India business profitable and generate free cash flows. Expand brokerage, and insurance. And then we will think about going into international markets,” the CEO said.

Amidst all these, most of the anger from shareholders was directed at Paytm over its stock price. From a record high of INR 1,955, the market correction has wiped off more than 60% of investor wealth in the last nine months. The shares fell 1.86% on Friday to INR 771.85 on the BSE.

An investor attending the meeting reportedly accused the company of cheating retail investors instead of driving growth. “Everyone who purchased shares during the IPO is cursing the management. I do not think the company can achieve profitability even in FY24,” an investor was quoted as saying in the report.

A slew of contentious resolutions were up for debate at the AGM, including one for reappointment of Sharma as the fintech player’s MD and increasing his remuneration. The company has so far not disclosed the stakeholders’ call on the matter.

Earlier this month, three proxy advisory firms – Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAS), Stakeholders Empowerment Services (SES) and InGovern Research Services – opposed the proposal for reappointment and increasing the remuneration of Sharma.

In its latest monthly report for July, Paytm said that it disbursed 2.9 Mn loans worth INR 2,090 Cr during the month. It also reported that its monthly transacting users (MTUs) increased 41% year-on-year (YoY) to 77.6 Mn last month, while total device deployment in the country stood around 4.1 Mn. 

In the first quarter of the financial year 2022-23 (FY23), Paytm’s consolidated loss widened by 69% YoY to INR 645.4 Cr. However, revenue from operations grew 89% YoY to INR 1,680 Cr in Q1 FY23.

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