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Ola Cabs reported its first-ever operating profit in the year ended 31 March even as revenue growth slowed in a covid-hit year, according to the IPO-bound company’s filings with the ministry of corporate affairs.

The ride-hailing company swung to an operating profit of 89.82 crore from an operating loss of about 610.18 crore in the previous fiscal year.

Profitability was driven by a sharp fall in expenses for the company’s mobility business, Ola Cabs, to 682.8 crore in FY21 from 2,683.2 crore in the previous year.

Standalone income of parent ANI Technologies stood at 772.68 crore in the year ended March, a 63% drop from 2,073 crore in the previous year. Consolidated income, including food-tech venture Ola Foods and financial services platform Ola Financial Services, plunged to 1,039.7 crore in FY21 from 2,721.3 crore in FY20.

Operating revenue for Ola Cabs alone stood at 689.6 crore in FY21, a 65% decline from the previous year as covid impacted travel.

In September, Ola chief and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal said that the gross merchandise value (GMV) of Ola Cabs crossed pre-covid levels.

“Our Ola cabs GMV crossed pre-covid levels last week. Recovery from the second wave is three times faster [...] 10 million people used Ola for the first time ever in FY21. Many are moving to autos, taking our auto business to almost 150% of pre-covid levels," said Aggarwal in a series of tweets.

The ride-hailing industry, which includes cabs, bike taxis, and autos, recorded 71 million trips worth $164 million in January, marking a 63% recovery from pre-pandemic levels, according to estimates by consultant RedSeer Consulting.

By March-end, volume recovery bounced back to 69% of pre-covid levels.

With the second wave of infections that started in March, recovery volumes for the sector were expected to be impacted by 30-40%, Redseer estimated in May.

Mint reported on 31 August that ANI Technologies was onboarding investment bankers in the run-up to its initial public offering. The company is looking to hit the domestic public market by the first quarter of 2022.

Ola is looking to raise between $1.5 billion and $2 billion through the listing next year and is targeting a valuation of almost $18 billion, Mint reported earlier.

In July, Temasek Holdings and Warburg Pincus invested $500 million in ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Founder Aggarwal also participated in the round.

Aggarwal owns 7.9% of the 11-year-old company, according to researcher Tracxn.

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