India’s digital payments start-up Paytm files for a $2.2 billion IPO

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Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay (Gpay) and Bhim UPI QR Codes (Standee) are Kept outside for Cashless payments at a medical store in Gurugram on the outskirts of New Delhi, India on 16 May 2020.

Nasir Kachroo | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Indian digital payments start-up Paytm is planning to raise up to 166 billion rupees ($2.22 billion) in an initial public offering, according to draft papers submitted to the country’s market regulator on Friday.

Paytm will issue new shares worth 83 billion rupees and an offer for sale worth another 83 billion rupees by existing shareholders, which include Japan’s SoftBank, China’s Ant Group and Berkshire Hathaway.

It is also in talks to potentially undertake a pre-IPO placement of 20 billion rupees, which would reduce the size of new shares issued.

The Noida-headquartered company said it would use proceeds from the IPO to grow and strengthen its payments ecosystem, as well as invest in new business initiatives, acquisitions and partnerships.

Paytm started in 2009 as a platform that allowed Indians to pay their bills and top-up their mobile plans. More than a decade later, the start-up has become a ubiquitous name in India’s digital payments space as millions use the service to pay for things including utility bills, groceries, recharging mobile connections and buying movie tickets. Paytm is also a fully licensed digital bank and has launched insurance, wealth management as well as cloud and commercial services.

But, it faces stiff competition for market share from deep-pocketed rivals such as Google Pay, Walmart’s PhonePe and Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service, which allows users to send money through the app. Paytm said it had around 333 million users as of March 31.

For the year that ended on March 31, One97 Communications, which owns Paytm, posted a loss of 16.96 billion rupees — a slight improvement from the 28.42 billion rupees loss in the previous year. Revenue dipped nearly 15% to 28.02 billion rupees, according to the prospectus.

Paytm is not the only Indian tech start-up that is about to enter the public markets. Food delivery firm Zomato filed for its IPO earlier this year, while reports say ride-hailing firm Ola and e-commerce giant Flipkart are exploring listing options.

One venture investor previously said that 2021 would “herald the beginning of a new era for the Indian start-up ecosystem,” with a number of significant IPOs to come.



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