A sign for PayTM online payment method, operated by One97 Communications Ltd., is displayed at a street stall selling accessories in Bengaluru, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Losses Widen For Paytm’s Parent

Losses widened for Paytm’s Alibaba-backed parent, which raised funds from billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

One97 Communications Ltd. reported a loss of Rs 1,604 crore for the financial year 2017-18 compared with Rs 899.6 crore a year ago, according to its filing to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The disclosure was made as part of report prepared by valuation firm Corporate Professionals Capital Pvt. Ltd.

While revenues for the last financial year weren't available, the company reported sales of Rs 640 crore for the year ended March 2017, according to its previous filings.

BloombergQuint’s emailed to One97 queries seeking a clarification on the losses remained unanswered.

One97, which raised Rs 6,443 crore in the year through March, is looking to sell around 4 percent to Berkshire Hathaway, valuing the company at more than $10 billion, people in the know told BloombergQuint requesting anonymity as the talks are private. Buffett, however, is not directly involved in the deal. The Mint newspaper first reported on the possible fund-raise.

Alibaba Group is One97’s largest shareholder with 39.6 percent stake, followed by SoftBank Group Corp and SAIF Partners that hold 20 percent each, according to the filings. Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma owns about 16 percent. The parent owns 49 percent in the payments bank, while the rest is held directly by Sharma.

In May, One97 shares were worth Rs 10,560 apiece, according to the filings, valuing the company at Rs 58,585.7 crore ($8.34 billion at the then prevailing exchange rate).

Since its inception, One97 has raised a little over Rs 11,400 crore from investors. Nearly Rs 10,831 crore of that came in the last three years.

One97, which started in 2010 as a mobile recharge services provider, created a host of payment solutions such as a digital wallet—that now has 300 million users—and the Paytm Payments Bank. It’s now looking to diversify into selling mutual funds and insurance through a separate subsidiary, Paytm Money Ltd.

One97’s online retail business was carved out into a separate company, called Paytm E-commerce Pvt. Ltd., the parent of Paytm Mall.