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Shares in India's Paytm Plunge 21% in First Day of Trade

MUMBAI (Reuters) -Shares in Paytm plummeted 21% in their market debut, valuing the Ant Group-backed digital payments firm at around 1.11 trillion rupees ($14.9 billion) after it completed India’s biggest-ever IPO.

Shares were changing hands at 1,705 rupees in early morning trade versus the offer price of 2,150 rupees.

Paytm, which also counts SoftBank among its backers, raised $2.5 billion in its initial public offering, of which $1.1 billion was from institutional investors. Last week it received $2.64 billion worth of bids for the remaining shares on offer, or 1.89 times.

Analysts at Macquarie Research said in a note to clients that Paytm’s business model lacked “focus and direction” and initiated coverage with an underperform rating. “Achieving scale with profitability a big challenge,” the note said, calling the company a “cash guzzler”.

The company, headquartered on the outskirts of India’s capital New Delhi, priced its 85.1 million-share issue at the top of the range at 2,150 rupees each.

Engineering graduate Vijay Shekhar Sharma founded Paytm in 2010 as a platform for mobile recharges. The company grew quickly after ride-hailing firm Uber listed it as a quick payment option in India and its use swelled further in late 2016 when New Delhi’s shock ban on high-value currency notes boosted digital payments.

Paytm’s success has turned Sharma, a school teacher’s son, into a billionaire with a net worth of $2.4 billion according to Forbes. Its IPO has also minted hundreds of new millionaires in a country where per capita income is below $2,000.

($1 = 74.3550 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Nupur Anand in Mumbai, Sankalp Phartiyal in New Delhi and Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Chandini Monnappa; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Edwina Gibbs

Source: Reuters

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