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Food delivery platform Zomato Ltd on Tuesday reported a sharp increase in quarterly loss in its first earnings release after last month’s blockbuster initial public offering.

Loss widened to 360.7 crore in the quarter ended 30 June from 134.2 crore in the preceding three months because of an expanded Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) pool. The company compared earnings sequentially as its financials for the first quarter of FY21 were severely impacted because of the covid-19 outbreak and subsequent national lockdown.

Revenue from operations and delivery charges rose 26% to 1,160 crore for the fiscal first quarter from 920 crore in the year earlier.

On Tuesday, Zomato shares fell 4.22% to 124.9 on BSE, while the benchmark Sensex index rose 0.28%.

“Adjusted Ebitda loss was 170 crore in Q1 FY22 as compared to 120 crore in Q4FY21. The loss for Q1FY22 reported in our financial statements is 360 crore as compared to the adjusted Ebitda loss of 170 crore. This is largely on account of non-cash ESOP expenses, which have increased meaningfully in Q1FY22 due to significant ESOP grants made in the quarter pursuant to the creation of a new ESOP 2021 scheme," Zomato chief executive officer (CEO) Deepinder Goyal said in a statement.

Zomato reported an employee benefits expense of 390.7 crore in Q1FY22 against 191.7 crore in Q4FY21.

The company said that core delivery services grew in the first quarter, but the dining out services was adversely impacted. Its food-delivery gross order value grew 37% to 4,540 crore in the June quarter from 3,310 crore in the preceding three months.

“Our India food delivery business continues to remain contribution positive; although the contribution margin reduced slightly in Q1FY22 as compared to the previous quarter on account of growth investments in addition to the costlier business environment (due to lockdowns) in which this growth was achieved," Goyal added.

The food delivery aggregator also said it had improved its payout to its delivery personnel by adding an extra delivery fee for long distances, as a result of which Zomato delivery staff is getting paid 15% more this year than the last year. “On an average, the top 20% of our delivery partners who deliver on bikes and put in more than 40 hours a week receive a payout of more than 27,000 per month," he said.

Goyal started the company in 2008 as a menu listings platform and grew it to a $13 billion publicly traded food delivery company in 13 years. Zomato had a blockbuster IPO last month. Its stock, which listed at 76, rose on listing and closed at 138.45 on the day of listing.

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