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Flipkart India posts higher turnover but revenue growth slows

15 December 2017

Flipkart India Pvt Ltd, the wholesale unit of India's largest online retailer, posted slower revenue growth in the year ended March, regulatory documents show.

Flipkart India's revenue rose 18-19 per cent to Rs15,264 crore ($2.37 billion) for the year ended 31 March from Rs12,818 crore in the previous year, according to documents posted with the Registrar of Companies on Thursday.

In the previous financial year of 2015-16, the wholesale business had registered growth of 34 per cent.

Turnover, however, was higher. Flipkart India posted a turnover of Rs15,264.4 crore for the year ended 31 March, an increase of 15.8 per cent over Rs13,177 crore in revenues for FY16, filings with the Registrar of Companies and data platform Tofler showed.

The net worth of the company stood at Rs3,946.6 crore.  Losses in FY16 had narrowed to Rs544.3 crore from Rs828.2 crore in the previous year.

In August this year, as per RoC filings, the wholesale arm received working capital credit of Rs375 crore from Axis Bank. Flipkart, which is caught in a battle with US-based Amazon, received fresh firepower in August this year when Japan's Soft Bank via its Vision Fund invested about $2.5 billion in the company for a 20 per cent stake in the ecommerce firm. With the investment, Flipkart's cash reserve crossed $4 billion.

Since Flipkart started out in 2007, the online retailer has adopted a complex corporate structure to accommodate all its subsidiaries, as India does not allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in online retail.

The online retailer sources goods from manufacturers and sells those goods to many of its small and large third-party sellers who in turn offer those products to shoppers. Flipkart also provides the technology platform and logistics services and takes a commission on every sale on its site.

Earlier in December, Amazon India's wholesale business reported revenue of Rs7,047 crore, with the business having grown manifold during the 12 months up to March 2017.

Amazon, however, adopts a different structure for its wholesale B2B business, and hence the figures of Flipkart India and Amazon Wholesale India are not comparable.

Flipkart, which is registered in Singapore, is yet to post the complete set of its annual documents for the 2016-17 financial year.

Since the beginning of the year, Flipkart, under former Tiger Global Management executive and current CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, has raised nearly $3 billion in fresh funds from Japan's SoftBank, China's Tencent Holdings, eBay and Microsoft.

Despite infusion of fresh funds, mutual fund investor Valic in November this year marked down Flipkart's valuation to about $7.9 billion much less than $11.6-billion valuation at which Flipkart raised funds earlier this year, The Financial Express reports. Valic had valued Flipkart at about $8.5 billion in the previous quarter.

The paltry growth in revenues is representative of the slowdown Flipkart saw during 2016, which allowed rival Amazon to narrow the gap, according to Business Standard.

The fallout of this slowdown also resulted in Tiger Global, the largest investor in Flipkart at the time, appointing Kalyan Krishnamurthy to head the business and elevate the co-founders, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, to non-operational roles.

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