New Delhi: Info Edge (India) Ltd, the owner of jobs classifieds site naukri.com, will see flat sales growth in 2009-10, top officials said, anticipating a revival of hiring activity later in the year.
The economic slowdown has forced firms to stop hiring, hitting the business of firms like Info Edge, which gets 80% of its revenue from naukri.com.
“For the year it’ll (sales) be flat or plus/minus 5%,” chief financial officer Ambarish Raghuvanshi said in an interview at the firm’s office in Noida on Friday.
“The first half will continue to be challenging. The revival in the second half should compensate for the choppiness in the first half.”
In the year to March 2009, Info Edge reported net sales of Rs2.46 billion, 12.3% up from a year ago. Profit rose 2.9% to Rs852.6 million.
Analysts have flagged concerns on the firm, which the market values at Rs16.5 billion, due to lack of demand from the weak economy, especially after the firm reported a 11.2% decline in net sales in the March quarter.
Chief executive Sanjeev Bikhchandani, who founded Info Edge in 1995, said hiring by IT firms, which provide a quarter of naukri.com’s revenue, continued to be weak and there was no sign of a recovery.
Real estate, retail, media and advertising too were in the same category, he said.
Other sectors that had seen a decline in hiring as the financial crisis slashed growth in the economy were beginning to see a nascent recovery, Bikhchandani said, adding this would likely outstrip declines in IT and other sectors.
“On the average, we’re off the bottom,” Bikhchandani said. “Companies have now begun to say: we think the worst is over, we’ll do replacement hiring now,” he said.
Naukri.com, which was launched in 1997, competes with timesjobs.com, monster.com, shine.com, among others.
Bikhchandani said the firm’s matrimonial Website jeevansathi.com would break even in the current financial year, but profits at real estate site 99acres.com would take time.
Shares in Info Edge, which went public in 2006, have risen by half so far in the year, outpacing the Mumbai market’s 39% climb.
They closed flat on the day at Rs606.25, retreating from a 3.8% uptick. The broader market was down 1.84%.