Paytm will buy back as much as 8.5 billion rupees ($103 million) of its own shares, following a roughly 75% plunge in the Indian fintech company’s stock price since going public in 2021.
The board at Paytm, whose official name is One 97 Communications Ltd., on Tuesday approved a plan to repurchase as many as 10.5 million shares at 810 rupees apiece on the open market, the company said in a statement Tuesday. That is a 59% premium to Thursday’s closing price, before the company said it was considering a buyback.
“Paytm board believes that this buyback is a sign of confidence that the company is on a clear path to deliver cash flow profitability, and this buyback will not have any impact on its growth plans in the near future or on its profitability plans,” Paytm, once India’s most valuable startup, said in a filing.
Paytm said it is ahead of its plans to achieve an operating profit before employee stock options costs by the end of September 2023.
While a buyback may help bolster Paytm shares, which floated at 2,150 rupees at their initial public offering, some investors worry about management using cash to prop up the stock price rather than to turn around loss-making operations.
Headquartered on the outskirts of New Delhi, the company posted a wider second-quarter loss last month. It competes with Walmart Inc.’s PhonePe and Alphabet Inc.’s GPay in the crowded Indian fintech market.
Companies cannot use money raised from an IPO to fund a share buyback, Paytm said previously. Any buyback would use cash on the company’s books, it said ahead of the announcement.
Backed by China’s Ant Group Co. and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., Paytm had a cash balance of 91.8 billion rupees at the end of September, according to its earnings statement last month.