The revenues for the company increased from less than 1 million in 2008 09 to

The revenues for the company increased from less than

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The revenues for the company increased from less than $1 million in 2008-09 to $75 million in 2011-12 and accelerated, with multiple acquisitions along the way, to reach $3 billion in 2016- 2017. The revenue growth rate in 2016-17 was 29%, down from the 50% revenue growth recorded in the prior fiscal year. Flipkart’s revenues are shown, in Indian rupees, in the graph below: -150000 -100000 -50000 0 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000 -50.00% -40.00% -30.00% -20.00% -10.00% 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% FLIPKART OPERATING HISTORY revenue net income net margin While losing lots of money and burning through cash: As the graph above, not surprisingly, show, Flipkart lost money in its early years, as growth was its priority. More troubling, though, is the fact that the company not only continues to lose money, but that its losses have scaled up with the revenues. In the 2016-17 fiscal year, for instance, the company reported an operating loss of $0.6 billion, giving it an operating margin of minus 40%. The continued losses have resulted in the company burning through much of the $7 billion it has raised in capital over its lifetime from investors. And borrowing money to plug cash flow deficits: Perhaps unwilling to dilute their ownership stake by further seeking equity capital, the founders have borrowed substantial
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amounts. The costs of financing this debt jumped to $671 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year, pushing overall losses to $1.3 billion. Not only are the finance costs adding to the losses and the cash burn each year, but they put the company’s survival, as a stand-alone company, at risk. It has had issues with governance and transparency along the way: Flipkart has a complex holding structure, with a parent company in Singapore and multiple off shoots, some designed to get around India’s byzantine restrictions on foreign investment and retailing and some reflecting their multiple forays raising venture capital. While the defense that will be offered for the company is that it is still young, the scale of the losses and the dependence on borrowed money would suggest that as a stand-alone business, you would be hard pressed to come up with a justification for a high value for the company and would have serious concerns about survival. b. Walmart That operating history includes two decades of stellar growth towards the end of the twentieth century, where Walmart reshaped the retail business in the United States, and the years since, where growth has slowed down and margins have come under pressure. As Walmart
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stands now, here is what we see: Growth has slowed to a trickle : Walmart’s growth engine started sputtering more than a decade ago, partly because its revenue base is so overwhelmingly large ($500 billion in 2017) and partly because of saturation in its primary market, which is the United States. And more of it is being acquired : As same store sales growth has leveled off, Walmart has been trying to acquire other companies, with Flipkart just being the most recent (and most expensive) example.
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