BharatPe was in the news all year around in 2022. Its co-founder Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain had to resign from the company because of their involvement in financial irregularities and alleged fraud. Their resignation was followed by a slew of court cases against them by the firm’s board and vice-versa. And most recently, their chief executive Suhail Sameer had also resigned from the company.
While the impact of these controversies on the company’s financial health will be ascertained when it releases FY23 results, BharatPe—under the helm of Grover— managed around 4X growth in FY22.
BharatPe’s revenue from operations grew 3.8X to Rs 456.8 crore during the last fiscal year (FY22) in comparison to Rs 119 crore in FY21, according to its consolidated annual financial statement with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).
The Tiger Global-backed company is engaged in the business of providing aggregator services to various merchants and businesses, offering them a unified QR code for acceptance of push payments through third-party UPI applications.
BharatPe also acts as a facilitator for lending partners (financial institutions) to provide small-ticket loans for the daily working capital needs of merchants on its platform and collects commissions against it. Its collections from the same jumped 2.1X to Rs 151.85 crore in FY22 from Rs 72.07 crore in FY21.
Transaction fees (including settlement charges), fixed rental charges for the use of point-of-sale (PoS), and speakers were the next major revenue source. Income from PoS machines ballooned 2.9X to Rs 126.82 crore in FY22 from Rs 44.11 crore in FY21.
The company manages loyalty programs for its program owners and enables customers to earn reward points from purchases and its collections from the same stood at Rs 108.5 crore during the last fiscal year. It also earned Rs 69.63 crore from advertisement, membership, and other services.
Besides its operating income, BharatPe also cornered Rs 223 crore via interest on deposits, investments, and other non-operating income which drove its overall revenue to Rs 680 crore during FY22.
Heading towards expenses, BharatPe provides financial guarantees to lending partners to cover the loss on the credit extended to its merchants and business users by the lending partner and these expenses turned out to be the biggest cost center and formed 18% of the total expenditure. This cost shot up 4.7X to Rs 266.6 crore in FY22 from Rs 56.4 crore in FY21.
Customer acquisition cost (including cashback & discounts to customers of Rs 107.71 crore) was another major cost that shot up 5.5X to Rs 245.5 crore in FY22 from Rs 45 crore in FY21. Transaction processing charges and IT & communication expenses surged 2.3X and 2.6X respectively to Rs 227 crore and Rs 105.6 crore in FY22.
BharatPe spent Rs 184.8 crore on employee benefits which grew 2.5X during FY22. Significantly, this cost includes Rs 69.8 crore of ESOP expenses. With the increasing scale, the company outsourced resources and these expenses ballooned over 2X to Rs 168 crore during the year which catalyzed BharatPe’s total annual expenditure by 3.2X to Rs 1,483 crore in FY22 from Rs 462 crore in FY21.
Following the over three-fold jump in expenses, BharatPe’s losses also blew up 3X to Rs 828.8 crore in FY22 against Rs 277 crore in FY21. Akin to the aggressive cash burn, BharatPe’s cash outflows from operations jumped nearly 10X to Rs 441 crore in FY22 from Rs 45 crore in FY21.
It’s worth noting that BharatPe has booked loss due to change in the fair value of compulsory convertible preference shares (CCPS) of Rs 4,782 crore and Rs 1,342 crore respectively in FY22 and FY21. Considering the non-cash nature of these expenses, Entrackr has excluded these costs while calculating the total expenses, losses and ratios.
Even though the company spent aggressively, its scale outpaced the expenses and as a result, BharatPe’s EBITDA margin improved to -104.48% during FY22. On a unit level, BharatPe spent Rs 3.25 to earn a rupee of operating income during the same period.
BharatPe has raised over $650 million in equity and debt to date and is backed by Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadfast Capital, Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital, and others.
However, considering all that has transpired in the current financial year, there is every possibility that the firm will see a worsening of numbers, especially on the growth front, though losses might moderate, too. However, it has to be said that the firm is more akin to a burning train right now, and needs to find a solution fast to prevent a descent to irrelevance. The high costs of providing loan guarantees indicate many more issues to resolve, and with Sameer stepping down too, it will take a very brave person to commit to a recovery soon.