Just Dial posts lower Q1 profit, to buy back shares worth Rs 84 crore
Photo Credit: Mukul Mudgal

Online local business search engine Just Dial Ltd registered a 2% year-on-year drop in its net profit for the first quarter ended 30 June 2017.

The company posted a net profit of Rs 38.2 crore for the quarter compared with Rs 38.9 crore a year earlier. On a year-on-year basis, its net profit margin declined 138 basis points to 17.6%, it said in a statement.

The number of total active listings increased 13.3% annually to 18.8 million as on 30 June 2017. The company added 906,457 listings to its database during the quarter, it said.

Total ratings and reviews stood at 73.1 million at the end of the quarter, marking a 16.8% year-on-year increase. It ran 435,980 paid campaigns during the quarter, registering a 12% increase from the year-ago quarter. App downloads increased 52% from a year earlier to 15.4 million.

Meanwhile, the company’s board has approved a plan to buy back equity shares worth up to Rs 83.9 crore at a price not exceeding Rs 700 per share.

This is the second buyback offer made by the firm. In June 2015, it said it will buy back 25% of the aggregate of its paid-up capital and free reserves at an estimated to cost of Rs 170 crore ($26 million then).

The company had posted a 7.6% increase in operating revenues to Rs 718.6 crore in financial year 2016-17 from Rs 667.7 crore the year before. Its net profit stood at Rs 121.3 crore in 2016-17 compared with Rs 142.7 crore in 2015-16.

The company, which counts Sequoia Capital and SAIF Partners as investors, also named Abhishek Bansal—who has been vice president of corporate strategy—as chief financial officer. An IIM Bangalore graduate, Bansal joined Just Dial in May 2014 after a four-year stint with financial services major Credit Suisse as an investment banker. He has also worked with Jaypee Capital Services, a trading firm.

Bansal will replace Ramkumar Krishnamachari, who resigned earlier this month and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the company's initial public offering in 2013.

This was the second high-profile exit at Just Dial in less than a year since the departure of its chief technology officer RV Raman, who stepped down in October 2016. Raman was the second CTO to leave the company in a year after his predecessor Sandipan Chattopadhyay resigned in December 2015.

Just Dial, which was founded by VSS Mani in 1996, is one of a few digital businesses to get listed on stock exchanges. Its stock price peaked at Rs 1,800 two years ago but has slumped since then. The shares closed at Rs 382.20 apiece on Tuesday.

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