Info Edge (India) Ltd, the largest consumer Internet firm in the country by market value which runs sites such asNaukri.com and 99acres.com, saw revenues rising 9.8 per cent to Rs 117 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2013, over the year-ago period.
The standalone net profit declined 84.2 per cent to Rs 6.3 crore. The company also booked an exceptional item of Rs 29.3 crore during the quarter which was not factored in the net profit. However, it also saw pressure on operating margins as expenses sped faster than revenue growth over the year-ago period.
When asked about why the operating margins have dipped Ambarish Raghuvanshi, CFO, Info Edge, said, “If the top line grows at less than 20 per cent, we will be yielding on margins and that is exactly how it has panned out because growth has come at about 16 per cent whereas expenses have grown at about 23-24 per cent.”
He added that the firm is investing in product, technology, engineering, etc. “We have also invested about Rs 35 crore in a new office in Noida. So basically we have made investments in a number of areas which are medium to long term and that is the primary reason why margins have dropped,” he said.
Revenues increased 10 per cent per cent while net profit was down 79.5 per cent sequentially or in comparison to the third quarter ended December 31, 2012. The firm had reported faster revenue and profit growth in the third quarter, which means the financial performance deteriorated in the last quarter.
The company’s standalone results include revenues from its primary recruitment business Naukri.com, NaukriGulf.com, Quadrangle, Job Seeker Services and Firstnaukri.com, as well as Jeevansathi.com, 99acres, Shiksha.com and Brijj.com. It does not capture financials of its subsidiaries such as Applect Learning Systems (Meritnation.com) and Etechaces (Policybazaar.com) and Zomato Media Pvt Ltd (Zomato).
Info Edge does not disclose consolidated financials on a quarterly basis.
For the full year ended March 31, 2013, the firm clocked consolidated revenues of Rs 469.9 crore up 20.4 per cent over FY12 with net profit of Rs 91.6 crore as against Rs 103.3 crore for the previous year. The consolidated numbers also includes financials of its subsidiaries.
Talking about how the subsidiary companies are faring, Hitesh Oberoi, managing director and CEO, Info Edge, said, “The subsidiary companies are making losses and that is why they need continuous investments. In fact, we don’t see Zomato breaking even in the next one year as well. Having said that both Zomato and Meritnation are category leaders in their respective sectors and we are very bullish about their profits in the medium term.”
In the last quarter, the firm had invested an additional Rs 30 crore ($5.5 million) in Applect, which runs an online education and assessment venture through Meritnation. It also invested Rs 55 crore ($10.07 million) more in Zomato Media, which runs Zomato.com, an online food and nightlife guide, and in the process converted Zomato from an associate company to a subsidiary.
The company acquired MakeSense Technologies Pvt Ltd for around Rs 8 crore ($1.5 million). MakeSense has developed proprietary software for semantic search that will augment search capabilities for both recruiters and job seekers, principally on Info Edge’s flagship site Naukri. The company also disclosed that it would make provision for or write off its entire investment of around Rs 29.3 crore ($5.4 million) in Ninety Nine Labels Pvt Ltd, the company that runs the online private sales portal 99labels.com, during the quarter.