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Info Edge (India) Ltd.

BSE: 532777 Sector: Others
NSE: NAUKRI ISIN Code: INE663F01024
BSE 00:00 | 30 Jul 5216.30 9.40
(0.18%)
OPEN

5220.00

HIGH

5275.00

LOW

5183.25

NSE 00:00 | 30 Jul 5214.80 5.90
(0.11%)
OPEN

5220.85

HIGH

5277.25

LOW

5182.00

OPEN 5220.00
PREVIOUS CLOSE 5206.90
VOLUME 88246
52-Week high 5876.05
52-Week low 3088.45
P/E 245.70
Mkt Cap.(Rs cr) 67,176
Buy Price 0.00
Buy Qty 0.00
Sell Price 0.00
Sell Qty 0.00
OPEN 5220.00
CLOSE 5206.90
VOLUME 88246
52-Week high 5876.05
52-Week low 3088.45
P/E 245.70
Mkt Cap.(Rs cr) 67,176
Buy Price 0.00
Buy Qty 0.00
Sell Price 0.00
Sell Qty 0.00

Info Edge (India) Ltd. (NAUKRI) - Chairman Speech

Company chairman speech

the pandemic has thrown " new opportunities with Moreadoption of digital technology by individuals and companies.

We are optimistic about the future especially given the fact that thepandemic has shifted many operations to ‘online ‘ rather than ‘inperson.' This will expand the addressable market opportunity for us and go a long wayto increase the demand for digital services of the type we provide today or canpotentially provide in the future.

Dear Shareholders

In the last twenty years we have faced intense competition from globalplayers and local well funded startups seen huge disruptions in the world of technologyfrom social media to mobile to now AI and ML and also been through a very severe recessionin 2008 when for almost a year we went from 35% growth to a 25% decline in collections inour Main Recruitment Business.

This experience has taught us that every crisis has an end date and canbe managed as long as the company takes a long term view and continues to focus on itsemployees customers products and services and cash in the bank. It is thereforeintrinsic to our management philosophy to expect disruptions every now and then. This hasresulted in an an agile decision making mechanism that has focused on achieving our longterm objectives and goals against all odds.

Having said so one needs to admit that while we were dealing with aneconomic slowdown which had started setting in your company certainly had neitherexpected nor prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.

Even then I am glad to report that Info Edge has managed to stay itsplanned course through these difficult times. It has continued to work on product andservice upgrades maintained its customer connect and effectively managed its entireoperations from a ‘work from home' (WFH) environment. And as the economy hasgradually started opening up several of your company's businesses have startedbouncing back fairly quickly. As I write jobseeker traffi c on Naukri is back to 95 % ofits precovid levels in 99acres; buyer and owner traffi c is back to 90% of precovidlevels and in Jeevansathi and Shiksha traffi c is now higher than the same time lastyear. Revenue will hopefully be back albiet with a lag.

At a time when most of the nation's economic activity was at astandstill we successfully raised `18750 million in August 2020 through a Qualifi edInstitutional Placement (QIP). Buyers in the fund raise were high quality domestic andinternational institutional investors including mutual funds pension funds other longonly funds and hedge funds. Proceeds of this fund raise will be used to further developinternal businesses primarily the real estate matrimonial and education portals. Acrossour businesses we will invest more in improving existing platfoms building new productstechnology upgrades and beefi ng up our Data Science and Maching Learning capabilities.The resources will also be used for strategic investmens in adjacent verticals andinorganic growth opportunities related to the four categories we operate in: jobs realestate matrimony and education. We believe that in a developing country like India theseare very important and very high involvement services. These market segments are huge andcontinue to have significant opportunities and immense potential for growth.

Essentially we have absorbed three lessons from the COVID-19 businessenvironment that are intrinsic to the future growth of our business. These are: betterdisaster recovery business continuity and risk management riding changing macro trendsand revisiting our traditional ways of working.

Clearly COVID-19 has created a set of new strategic imperatives forthe different businesses. As I see it there are five key takeaways.

1. Financial Prudence is important. Crisis are unpredictable and yourcompany should at any point in time have enough cash in the bank to tide over them.

2. Second the issue of operational prudence. This means one has tolook hard at all costs do zero based budgeting and reduce all non-essential expenditure.Senior Management needs to lead by example in all areas whether its admin costs orworkforce costs.

3. Third businesses need to become more fl exible. To achieve thisthere has to be continuous review and adjustments of business plans and priorities giventhe changing business environment.

4. Fourth we have to gear ourselves to some new market and economicrealities. Some sectors and businesses may take a long time to recover. Other sectors maygrow much faster. Work from home virtual meetings and remote decision making may wellbecome the norm in many industries and this will have implications for how we sell how wehire our organisational structures and how we train and enagage our workforce goingforward.

5. Lastly the pandemic has also thrown up new opportunities. Moreadoption of digital technology by individuals and companies as a result of the pandemicmore usage of video means more opportunities for us to improve our platforms furtherlaunch new features and push our customers to do more and more tasks online (videointerviews video profiles video calling virtual site visits webinars etc). This couldhelp us provide a better experience to our customers open up new revenue opportunitiesover time and grow the size of the addressable market for us.

As a company we are aware of these trends and making efforts to reviewour future plans and transform accordingly.

While COVID-19 was a major disruption from March 25 2020 much of theoperations in FY2020 were undertaken according to focussed plans — albeit in anenvironment where the Indian economy was considerably slowing down. Though challengingFY2020 was a good year for your Company. Billings increased by 7.8% revenues by 15.9%and operating EBITDA readjusted for the accounting standard Ind AS 116 increased by 10.6%.

In the recruitment space on an annual basis billings forrecruitment solution in FY2020 grew 8% to `9155.71 million while revenues grew by 15.4%to `9067.60 million. We booked 14% year-on-year growth in our billing numbers untilFebruary 2020. However due to the lockdown the growth of billing in the last seven daysof March 2020 shrank by 43% — resulting in a decline of 6% year-on-year in Q4FY2020.

For the post-COVID-19 world Naukri is accelerating product investmentsin the recruitment management system since tools which enable automation remotecollaboration and analytics to measure and track productivity will play an important rolein the new ‘work from home' environment . We recently launched our NaukriFast-Forward transition services as an offering to companies who are laying off people butwant to help them with their career transition. Naukri has also launched a ‘stepup' initiative to support jobseekers who have lost their jobs in the pandemic.

During the year we acquired the business of iimjobs.com which hasbeen well integrated into Info Edge. IIMJobs had built a great product but lackeddistribution. By merging the iimjobs sales team with the Naukri sales team we intend totake the product to thousands of customers. This strategy has already started deliveringresults and the business is on track to deliver strong revenue growth.

To grow our recruitment portfolio we are also test marketing a‘Blue collar' jobsite jobhai.com and an AI based technology hiring platformBigShyft. These are both in a nascent stage but could be large opportunities over thelonger term if we execute well. We have also invested in GreytHR (a HR payroll andoperations provider for a small and medium enterprises.) This is our first investment inthe HR Services space. Such investments give us deep insights and learning into adjacentcategories and the different operating models. If successful they can help us redefi nethe market we operate in.

In 99acres despite a dismal last quarter on account of COVID-19FY2020 billing and revenue grew by 3.5% and 18.8% to `2139.47 million and `2279.61million respectively. During the year resale and rental businesses grew slightly fasterthan new homes and the number of broker clients increased at a healthy rate of 15%. Bothtraffi c and revenue in 99acres were severely impacted during the lockdown since site andhome visits came to a halt. Collections in 99acres in Q1 were down almost 70%. Howeversince July we have seen a healthy bounce back in both traffi c and revenue. The pandemichas resulted in a big churn in the real estate market for both residential and commercialproperties and this could help us going forward. We continue to invest to improve our coreplatform experience. We are also taking appropriate measures to reduce operating costswithout impacting either the platform or client experience. The real estate market hasbeen impacted by various crisis over the last few years – demonetisation RERA GSTthe NBFC crisis and now COVID-19. As a result the real estate advertising market hasshrunk by over 50% over the last few years. But since online classifieds captured only asmall portion of it we have continued to grow every year with builders brokers andowners transferring more of their spend to online medium such as 99acres. Falling interestrates RERA and more affordable real estate could result in more buyers coming back intothe market in the next few quarters. And with more people preferring to begin their searchon online platforms such as ours we see a huge opportunity in this business. Despite thesteep fall in business activity we have continued to invest in people and platform at99acres. Uptil now we have focussed mostly on the residential buy segment. Going forwardwe plan to revamp our rental and commercial real estate offering as well. As online realestate activity picks up in tier 2 and tier 3 cities we plan to up our presence in thesemarkets. We have also invested in a real estate analytics and intelligence company calledTEAL which aims to provide historical real estate transaction data and title checksonline. The aim is to transform 99acres from a property search platform to a real estatediscovery and research platform with the aim of helping the buyers or tenants throughouttheir real estate purchase or lease journey.

In FY 2020 Jeevansathi revenue grew by 17.1% we invested more inmarketing and branding activities to gain share in the communities we are focussed on– Hindi Belt Marathi and Punjabi. We launched several new and exciting industryfirst featues like video and voice calling and milan samarohs. The Jeevansathi businesswas also the least impacted by COVID. Infact jeevansathi continued to witness both profileand revenue growth during the lockdown period as well. We see this pandemic as a goodopportunity to gain share and have upped our marketing investments in jeevansathi and setvery aggressive growth targets for the business.

The education vertical Shiksha continues to gain traffi c sharedespite heightened competition from different players in this segment. FY2020 billings andrevenue grew 5.8% and 10.8% respectively. Traffi c share doubled in FY 2020. We continueto invest in more counselling tools and making the content more comprehensive and morestudent-friendly and expand the scope of offerings to both online education courses andstudy abroad programs as well. Efforts are on to build deeper domain expertise andconsequently generate greater response from our clients. We see a huge opportunity ineducation on both the university and the student side. The phenomenal rise of edtech istestament to the fact that the Indian student has reached a place where it is willing topay for good quality educational content as well as other value added services such ascounselling. We are also exploring these solutions at Shiksha and our other investeecompanies in the education space. We also invested in an online edtech platformCodingninjas which trains college students and young professionals to become competentprogrammers.

For the investment portfolio COVID-19 and ensuing lockdown had asignificant impact on the operations of companies like Zomato Shopkirana Ustraa PrintoGramophone and others. With gradual lifting of lockdown all such companies are gettingback to its top-line while curtailing costs.

PolicyBazaar continues to benefit from growing digital penetrationwhich has helped it to improve overall profitability of the business. However PaisaBazaar has been impacted by moratorium extensions. It has substantially reduced headcountto preserve cash; and is exploring opportunities of expanding business into non-lendingcategories.

During Q4 FY 2020 we also announced the launch of a Category IISEBI-approved Alternate Investment Fund called the Info Edge Venture Fund. Since itslaunch we have made seven investments in Qyuki Dotpe Fanclash Truemeds RuskmediaBulbul and Firsthive. We also did follow-on rounds in some of our earlier investeecompanies like Univariety Policybazaar Shoekonnect Shopkirana and others.

From the beginning of your Company's journey we understood thatmarkets are unpredictable.

It is therefore extremely important to build an engine that generatescash and sustains operations in bad market conditions. So unlike what is the norm in thestart-up environment your company has never believed in burning cash to force growth.Yes growth is important. But it cannot be the only driver for a business. One needs tobuild for profitability and be a clear leader across financial parameters.

Building a company is a journey and at Info Edge are focussed onmaking the journey fun but without losing sight of the destination.

For us COVID-19 was not a temporary adverse event but a developmentthat put all our systems and processes to test. We have learnt lessons and I can confidently say that we have evolved into a more robust enterprise.

Much of FY2021 will be adversely affected by the global economicslowdown triggered by COVID-19. Clearly therefore one should expect readjustments ofgrowth plans. However having said so we are optimistic about the future —especially given the fact that the pandemic has shifted many operations to‘online' rather than ‘in person'. This will expand the addressablemarket opportunity for us and go a long way to increase the demand for services in thedigital space.

From the management of Info Edge I want to thank all our stakeholdersfor their continued support. I also wish that all of you stay safe and healthy — thistoo shall pass.

Regards
Hitesh Oberoi

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