Indian mobile payments giant Paytm lost more than a quarter of its value on its market debut Thursday after raising $2.5 billion in the country’s biggest-ever IPO, as traders questioned whether the loss-making firm would ever turn a profit.
Asia’s third-largest economy has been in the grip of an initial public offering frenzy, with start-ups attracting billions of dollars in investment in a bright spot in the Covid-battered economy.
But while Paytm has established a leading position in the fast-growing marketplace for mobile payments it has lost money in each of the past three years and its market debut showed the limits of investor appetite.
Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, once named India’s youngest billionaire, wiped tears from his eyes when the national anthem was played at an opening ceremony before trading began at the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Referring to the phrase in the anthem “Bharat bhagya vidhata” — “the one who will define the fortune of this country” — he said Paytm has “actually done that”.
But the company’s shares dived at the open and finished at 1,650 rupees ($21), down more than 27 percent from their IPO price of 2,150 rupees.
“There is a lot of euphoria for the digital space and that seems to now be subsiding,” said SMC Global Securities analyst Saurabh Jain.
“These companies are coming out with IPOs at scorching valuations and it’s anybody’s guess what valuations are correct,” he told