1. E-commerce: SoftBank losses from Ola, Snapdeal reach a staggering $1.4 bn

E-commerce: SoftBank losses from Ola, Snapdeal reach a staggering $1.4 bn

The losses from Ola and Snapdeal in the year to March 2017 compare with a gain of $1 billion in the previous year

By: | New Delhi | Updated: May 11, 2017 7:19 AM
SoftBank first came on board as an investor in Snapdeal in August 2013, when it invested about million in the e-retailer. (IE)

Japan’s SoftBank Group on Wednesday said it had incurred losses of $1.4 billion (¥160.419 billion) on investments in e-commerce player Snapdeal and taxi aggregator Ola in the period to March 2017. The losses compare with a gain of $1 billion (¥114.377 billion) in 2015-2016. SoftBank is also invested in Oyo Rooms.

The Masayoshi Son-led multinational corporation with a focus on telecommunication and e-commerce said in its annual report that expenses of ¥8,847 million ($77.63 million) had arisen from the resignation of Nikesh Arora from his position as director. These had been included in “Reconciliations” for the year.

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The statement comes on the same day as the Tokyo-headquartered company reported a 13% jump in full-year net income, to ¥1.43 trillion for the 12 months ended March 31 that topped analysts’ estimates and was driven, primarily, by cost cuts and an improved performance by its US-based wireless business Sprint.

SoftBank first came on board as an investor in Snapdeal in August 2013, when it invested about $75 million in the e-retailer. In all, the Japanese investment firm has infused close to $800 million in the company.

However, with losses spiralling, Snapdeal is strapped for cash and SoftBank is now reportedly looking to sell the business to Flipkart. ANI Technologies, which runs Ola, reported revenues of Rs 758.23 crore in 2015-16 and a loss of around Rs 2,313.7 crore.

Further explaining the cause of the losses, SoftBank announced that it recognised loss on valuation of shares of subsidiaries and associates including STARFISH I, an intermediate holding company which owns preferred shares in Snapdeal, of $1billion (¥114.059 billion), in 2016-2017.

“Highly competitive e-commerce market in India has made a trend of the company’s business performance lower than initially anticipated. The situation caused a material decrease in net asset value of STARFISH I PTE as of March 31, 2017,” the company explained in a separate filing on its website.

According to the filings with the registrar of companies (RoC), Snapdeal had Rs 1,072.2 crore as cash and bank balances as on March 31, 2016. As per RoC filings, Snapdeal’s losses ballooned to Rs 3,315 crore in 2015-16, while revenues came in at Rs 1,506.8 crore, data from RoC showed. In the previous year the company had posted a loss of Rs 1,328 crore on the back of revenues of Rs 933 crore.

The Japan-based investor has held several meetings in the last few months with the two founders — Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal — and also key investors Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners. However, no deal has been announced yet.

In an email a SoftBank spokesperson, said, “The valuation of our financial investments are frequently adjusted upwards or downwards due to accounting policies, currency fluctuations and market dynamics. The loss reported in today’s earnings represents the aggregate impact of such revaluations during the course of the entire fiscal year.”

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