Shares in Indian food delivery firm Zomato tumble

Zomato tepid growth
FILE PHOTO: A delivery worker of Zomato, an Indian food-delivery startup, prepares to leave to pick up an order from a restaurant in Mumbai, India, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Shares of Zomato Ltd tumbled up to 8.4% on Friday after the Indian food delivery firm posted tepid sequential gross order value growth (GOV) in the third quarter as more people opted to dine out following the easing of pandemic curbs.

After market close on Thursday, Zomato said its third-quarter GOV – the total monetary value of all food delivery orders – surged 84.5% from a year ago, but sequentially it rose only 1.7% as restrictions on dining out were lifted.

People had remained hooked on having meals and groceries delivered to their homes since March 2020 after the country went into a lockdown.

Brokerage Jefferies cut Zomato’s gross merchandise value forecast for full year 2022-26 by 4%-9%, and said the past two quarters signal how unpredictable this business (and probably the internet sector) is likely to be.

“Earnings release remains opaque, lacks substance, and describes only selective aspects of the business,” Jefferies added, slashing target price to 120 rupees from 175 rupees while retaining a “buy” rating on Zomato stock.

Shares of the delivery firm were trading at 88.6 rupees apiece, as of 0432 GMT.

Zomato’s consolidated net loss narrowed to 632 million rupees ($8.38 million) for the December quarter, from 3.53 billion rupees a year earlier, helped by a one-time gain of 3.16 billion rupees from the sale of its stake in Fitso, an online platform that helps people discover sporting venues.

Zomato, which made its market debut in 2021, said on Thursday it will increase the upper limit of its potential investments over the next two years in the quick commerce market to $400 million.

Competition in India’s quick commerce and hyperlocal delivery space is heating up. Google and Reliance Industries have invested in Bengaluru-based Dunzo while Zomato has invested in rival Blinkit.

($1 = 75.0270 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa and Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Vinay Dwivedi and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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