Sameer Ranjan Bakshi
US-based mutual fund investor Vanguard has marked up cab aggregator Ola’s share price for the third time in a row. With this,Vanguard has marked up Ola’s share by 5.4% since November last year. After slashing 40% of its value in November, Vanguard has been on a mark-up spree, as far as Ola is concerned. According to Vanguard’s latest filing with US SEC, it has valued Ola’s shares at $192.6 for the three-month period ending March, 2017, up from $182.7 on November 30, 2016. Ola raised $57.3 million from Vanguard in December 2015 in its series G round. Vanguard-owned mutual funds – Vanguard World Fund and Vanguard Variable Insurance Fund together hold about 1.85 lakh Ola shares. In February 2017, Vanguard valued ANI Technologies’ (that operates Ola) shares at $187.4 each. In February this year, Ola had raised funds to the tune of $350 million from investors led by Japan’s SoftBank, at a valuation of $3.5 billion. This was significantly lower than its erstwhile valuation of $5 billion in November 2015, when it raised $500 million from China’s Didi Chuxing and SoftBank. After marking up Ola’s shares, Vanguard had said in February, “ANI Technologies fell in value after raising additional capital from SoftBank. While Ola has a market-leading position in India, it faces competition from Uber; for long-term growth, the company needs the resources of an investor like SoftBank.”
According to RoC filings by ANI Technologies, while Ola’s revenues increased almost seven-fold to `664 crore for FY16, its losses doubled to `1,760 crore in FY16. The SoftBank-backed company has been engaged in tug of war with US-based Uber in the taxi-hailing business and has been splurging on marketing and promotions to ward off competition.