In the industry where we operate internet based products and services itis very important to strike a balance between e!cient execution to generate adequatereturns and cash "ows on the one hand while accurately understanding the needs ofthe future to develop platforms that e#ectively address such requirements on the other.
In business there are e#ectively two time zones the present and the future.Successful companies always focus on e$cient delivery in the present ande#ective positioning for the future. Info Edge is no exception.
Especially in the industry where we operate internet based products and services it is very important to strike a balance between e$cient execution to generateadequate returns and cash %ows on the one hand while accurately understanding the needsof the future to develop platforms that e#ectively address such requirements on the other.
We at Info Edge have always focused on maintaining this critical balance. So far wehave been quite successful. &is is borne out by the fact that with very low externalfunding we had cash reserves of Rs.16170.80 million on March 31 2019 at a time when wehave made major investments in our four internally managed brands that are market leadersas well as in a series of investments in over !'een portfolio companies that are in growthphase.
In the recruitment business billings grew by 19.73% in FY 2019 to Rs.8475.40 millionwhile revenues increased by 17.51% to Rs.7858.49 million. Tra$c share in the job portalspace continued to be around 75% on average across FY2019 thus rea$rming our superiorleadership positioning. &ough there has been some diversi!cation IT & ITES hiringcontinues to be the key revenue source for naukri. Business from hiring activities hasremained stable. New customer acquisition as well as retention rate of existing customersremained high throughout the year thus driving growth in business revenues. We alsowitnessed billing growth through sales of more upgrades and additional usage from existingclients.
In the online real estate business billings for 99acres grew by 31.61% to Rs.2066.99million in FY2019 and revenues increased by 41.74% to Rs.1919.64 million. For a businesswhich is still in the development phase segmental losses reduced to Rs.275.88 million inFY2019. &e cash loss in the business stood at Rs.48.27 million for the FY2019. On thebasis of time spent our tra$c share among online real estate portals stood at around 52%at the end of FY2019 thus continuing to maintain leadership in all major markets.Billings from brokers and agents continue to rise. Broker billings were around 52% of thetotal while builder billings were about 43%. &e proportion of billing from resaleproperties has been increasing making the platform more comprehensive and vibrant.
jeevansathi.com In the matrimonial business under jeevansathi.com FY 2019revenues and billings grew 5% year-on-year to Rs.723.48 million and Rs.735.41 millionrespectively. We are looking to consolidate our position with investments in this businessthat will help us penetrate deeper into our core markets especially in the North andWest.
shiksha.com &is is our education classi!eds portal. Here billingsincreased by 17.94% to Rs.491.74 million and revenues grew by 13.01% to Rs.480.94 millionin FY2019. In this business we continue to invest in improving the site content andbuilding deep domain expertise. &ese ought to help improve the sites response toits advertisers and build more traction going forward.
We feel proud to share with you that the Company approved the acquisition of 100% ofthe Share Capital of Highorbit Careers Pvt. Ltd. (www.iimjobs.com) for an aggregate cashconsideration of about Rs.808 million. &is Company is engaged in the business ofproviding online classi!eds database digital platform and recruitment solutions in therecruitment and employability vertical to small medium and large enterprises and the jobseekers across di#erent verticals particularly Management and Technology verticals. Overthe years it has built a strong niche brand and has become one of the leading recruitmentplatforms.
Coming to our investee companies Zomato concluded the UAE business deal forapproximately USD170 million. &ey also raised USD310 million during the year fromAlipay/Delivery Hero & couple of other investors.
We also made further investment inter-alia in our investee companies PolicyBazaar Meritnation Shop-Kirana Gramophone Wishbook and ShoeKonnect.
Following prudent investment principles we also provisioned some of our investmentsduring FY2019 which included Rare Media Canvera and Vacation Labs. We continue to reviewnew investment opportunities from time to time. As of March 31 2019 our investments inportfolio companies was Rs.5912 million.
We had a year of strong performance and cash generation. However we are acutelyconscious of the ever-changing market landscape and competition. &us we havesingle-mindedly focused on preparing Info Edge for the future. Consequently FY2019 sawconsiderable investments in brand development and technology enhancements.
&ere has been enhanced brand presence online and on television especially duringmajor events. Our marketing and promotion spend increased by 50.98% to Rs.1756.93 millionin FY2019. &is re%ects our concerted strategy to revitalise our brands for the nextphase of growth and competition. And we are doing so by ploughing back some of our revenuegrowth to consolidate the brand positioning and gain tra$c share.
Similarly we have continued with investments in areas like technology product designarti!cial intelligence (AI) and data science. Across businesses Info Edge has startedbuilding a healthy pipeline of innovation new products and features keeping in mind thelong-term emergence of opportunities in recruitment and other verticals.
We will also focus on innovating and adding new functionalities in di#erent platformsthrough application of AI and machine learning. We will accelerate investments in thisspace going forward.
From a purely !nancial perspective many of these investments are a pass-through to ourpro!t and loss account as incremental operating expenses thus a#ecting ouroperating pro!t margin in the short run. However these are long term investments tosecure the future of the business and to grow market share and revenue generationcapabilities.
You may recall that in my previous letter I had clearly stated that the foundation ofour business strategy going forward is based on four pillars: (i) our value system; (ii)our focus on !nancial strength; (iii) our emphasis on people development; and (iv) ourcustomer centric approach.
We continue to develop the business on these principles to deliver today with aclear vision for tomorrow. In terms of the path that we laid out last year we havewalked the talk in FY2019. We hope to do so just as well in FY2020.
Info Edge and I look forward to your support for the next round of growth.
Managing Director & Chief Executive O!cer