To my fellow Shareholders,
Since Just Dial’s founding almost 20 years ago, we have only grown from strength to strength, earning the trust of our users, SME partners and creating value for our stakeholders.
As we began our journey, I had a vision and how we would work towards bringing ''''convenience’ at your doorstep. Bringing people together, empowering small businesses and redefining user experience - not just for the next few years but over the next few decades.
The year 2016 started with a global and economic turmoil, amidst weak aggregate demand, falling commodity prices and increasing financial market volatility in major economies. The rebalancing of Chinese economy, UK''''s exit from the European Union, the geopolitical risks in the Middle East, the slowdown of the US economy and volatility in the emerging economies - are some of the factors that will shape the current year, as we move on from a modest 3.1% growth in 2015.
However, India continued to remain buoyant despite the global challenges. With useful reforms undertaken and bucket of reforms already announced that are yet to be implemented, the country is indeed poised to report strong economic growth in the near hindsight. Increased exports, higher capital inflows and contained fiscal deficit helped the country report a GDP growth of 7.6% in 2015-16. Going ahead, led by our dynamic Prime Minister and his team, the country sits on cusp of optimism, backed by several growth factors to emerge stronger in the coming years.
One of the key aspects to the level-next growth for the country is ''''internet''''. An increasing number of the country''''s population is getting on to digital and internet bandwagon. With more than 250 million people using internet in 2015, it is expected more than 500 million will be a part of the digital revolution by 2018. As per government estimates, the internet market will be worth $ 50 billion by 2018.
At Just Dial, we continue to align ourselves with the evolving industry trends, reshaping our business model to ensure sustainability and growth. We are witnessing overall trend in Indian e-commerce industry moving towards personalization: the defining of a unique, emotional, yet flexible experience. With the continuing development of technical solutions allowing for ever more interactive models, e-commerce seems predestined to fulfill such expectations. Personalized marketing and customized approaches based on individual user requirements will gain importance in the coming years.
This shift was reflected in our operational achievements with more than a million new business listings on our portal during the year under review, taking the total listings to 16.3 million. This was complimented by more than 242 million unique visitors (across our multiple platforms) during the year, a growth of 11% from the previous year. On a fundamental basis, we executed financial discipline, with our top line growing by 17.13% to H 6,908.28 million for FY 2015-16 against H 5,897.98 million in FY 2014-15. The profit after tax witnessed marginal growth of 2.10%, stood at RS, 1,418.02 million for FY 2015-16 against RS,1,388.90 million in FY 2014-15. This was further reflected with improved Operating EBITDA and PAT margins, which stood at 24.69% and 18.92% respectively for the year.
These financial matrices are a validation of our business model, notwithstanding the macro and micro economic factors. Our confidence and faith in the SMEs and entrepreneurial spirit is today further fuelled by some major initiatives from the government as well. Right from ''''Make in India'''' to ''''Skill India'''', there is a spring in the step in the people of the country. This is complimented with the major drive to connect the country with internet, bridging the gap and enabling accessibility.
This digital synergy is only poised to make things better for the SMEs, the users and our Company. For the SMEs, we think the platform of Just Dial has been a ''''game changer''''. Our range of offerings (paid and unpaid listings) has not only been economical for them, but has helped them reach out to a vast target audience. Compare this to them setting up their own app or customized standard website, which would not only be unfeasible but be less profitable. With us being their partners, the SMEs have been able to scale their businesses, sustain their qualitative services / products, widen their reach, enhance their goodwill and create a sustainable livelihood.
Talking about users, they have also reaped the rewards of digitization, with our ''''life made easy philosophy.'''' Our belief in engagement was visible, with people spending more time on using our services. With underlying technical transition, and evolution of services, we witnessed significant increase in visitors across our multiple platforms. With the introduction of cross-functionality services and Search Plus, we have empowered businesses on one hand and enriched user experiences on the other.
From the Company perspective, we have innovated in more ways than one. While Search Plus continues to gain traction on ground, we recently launched JD Omni - another game changing offering ready to change the e-commerce landscape of the country. Backed by cloud services, real-time data and customized convenience, JD Omni will not only help SMEs connect better, but do business better with efficiency, transparency and effectiveness. With use of JD Omni we remain committed to our goal of creating an enriched value system - more business for SMEs (online and offline) and enduring experiences for our users.
In terms of our ambit of services, we further widened the basket, adding new services like - railway ticket booking, buy insurance, invest in mutual funds and bill payments, cab bookings among others.
With a widening ambit of internet options, cheaper data plan, cheaper smart phones, high speed data connectivity and increased traction on internet, the entire eco-system of online and offline commerce inter-play moves to a new level. We look at this space with large users, ensuring them with accessibility and availability to services and products that were earlier not thought of - all under one roof.
Our transition from being India''''s leading ''''search engine player'''' to an emerging and preferred ''''search plus transact'''' player is what gives us the edge. From services that don''''t involve movement of physical goods (like a doctor''''s appointment) to buying grocery, medicines and more - are under a single eco-system called Just Dial''''. Our strategy to leverage the entrepreneurial spirit of SMEs locally and create a balanced portfolio of choice for users is what will drive us ahead.
Increasing internet and mobile penetration, growing acceptability of online payments and favorable demographics have provided the companies in the e-commerce sector in India the unique opportunity to connect with their customers. Rising incomes and a larger variety of goods and services that can be bought over the internet is making online transactions more attractive, seamless and convenient for users all over the country.
Browsing trends have broadly shifted to mobile devices in India and online shopping is also expected to follow suit, as one out of three users currently makes transactions through mobiles. Hence, Just Dial is expected to benefit from such changing trends as we provide a master app wherein all the facilities that are in the online space are available at one place. We target to become a one stop destination for search and transactions alike.
With growing internet, mobile and web based penetration, increasing acceptance of online payment systems, we expect the online local search space and various other transactions to witness robust growth in the near future. We continue to remain focused on not just driving short-term profitability but on creating a business model for long-term sustainability. With an early mover advantage, industry-leading position, integrated platform, technologically advanced infrastructure, proven execution capabilities and strong brand recall - we are well poised to lead the growth opportunity in this segment.
I thank all our shareholders for their continued faith in our strength and capabilities, customers for their valuable support and trust of our employees for their tireless efforts towards achieving our set goals.
With warm regards,
V. S. S. Mani
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer