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Has IPO-bound OYO regained trust of its hotel partners?

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As travel tech major OYO prepares for its much-awaited public listing, the continued satisfaction of its hotel partners and winning back dissatisfied partners will play a key role in determining how its business performs and, by extension, how its stock holds up.

The company has recently been affected by some of its hotel partners publicly complaining, filing cases and even writing to the regulator.

The moot question here is: Has IPO-bound OYO regained the trust of its hotel partners which it also addresses as Patrons?

Let’s take a closer look at its patron policies through its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) filed with SEBI.

With over 157,000 storefronts worldwide, the 40 reported cases against the company or its directors translate to less than 0.02 per cent of its storefronts. OYO sources say that majorly of these originate due to shifting from minimum guarantee to revenue sharing arrangement. As per DRHP, at its peak, 14.7 per cent hotels had minimum guarantee. This number is down to nearly zero now.

After bingeing on growth and expansion, the company seems to have refocused its priority to course correct on the hotel partner front.

Revenue growth is by far the biggest and most meaningful value proposition that OYO claims to provide its hotel partners worldwide. Its DRHP tries to prove it by showing the median revenue growth for a storefront after 12 weeks of a hotel joining the OYO platform.

The highest revenue uplift for storefronts is in the European Vacation Homes Business at 2.4 times, while India is still at a healthy 1.9 times increase in revenue.

The platform has several revenue enhancement tools, including machine-learning based dynamic pricing algorithms which use hundreds of parameters such as the supply and demand, seasonality and local trends to arrive at the optimal real-time price for a room and thus maximising partner revenues.

Another pricing tool is the Tariff Manager, which gives partners control over pricing based on their understanding of potential local demand. Currently, 45 per cent of OYO hotels use a tariff manager on a monthly basis globally.

It has introduced a prepaid e-wallet to simplify revenue collection and reconciliation process and moved from a monthly reconciliation process to now offering hotel partners daily payouts to improve their working capital flow.

It does consistent engagement with partners now via regular town halls. All of this has led to an increase in Patron satisfaction score from 30.1 per cent for the three months ended September 30, 2020, to a healthier 72.3 per cent for the three months ended March 31, 2021.

OYO now has over 2,700 hotel partners with more than one property signed up on its platforms. For India, this translates to 9.5 per cent of the hotel owners.

New hotels are joining the OYO platform via a self-onboarding tool, ‘OYO 360′, which automatically generates digital contracts based on property details and KYC documents provided by hotel partners.

In fiscal 2021, almost all the company’s contracts with new hotel Partners were signed and managed digitally, says the DRHP.

However, OYO still hasn’t been able to assuage all of its sceptics. Some traditional hoteliers still believe that the model of offering season wise pricing with minor discounts is the only way to keep the small hotels category viable.

Few others are still to come to terms with the abolition of the minimum guarantees which gave them certainty of revenues and are still in courts demanding compensation. There are signs of thawing though; according to company sources, close to 1,300 hotel partners facing issues in the past have joined back.

Given the buoyant IPO market, OYO’s public offering may sail through successfully, but the continued partner satisfaction will have a huge impact on its growth and hence its stock performance. A point OYO’s founder Ritesh Agarwal would do well to take note of.

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Equities settle high after crash on Monday; Sensex up over 350 pts

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After a bloodbath in the Indian equity segment on Monday due to continued selling-off pressure by foreign institutional investors, the market on Tuesday recovered its losses, though marginally.

Sensex settled 0.6 per cent or by 366 points higher at 57,858 points, whereas Nifty is 0.8 per cent up or by 128 at 17,277 points.

Barring Nifty IT index, all the others traded in the green during the intra-day trade. Nifty bank, auto, media, PSU bank, and realty indices rose the most, NSE data showed.

On the stocks front, Maruti Suzuki India, Axis Bank, SBI, Indusind Bank, and UPL were the top five gainers, rising 7.4 per cent, 6.5 per cent, 3.9 per cent, 3.6 per cent, and 3.5 per cent, respectively. Wipro, Bajaj Finserv, Titan, Ultratech Cement, Tech Mahindra were the top five losers during the session.

“After a week-long consolidation, domestic indices took a breather supported by low-level buying. Western markets also supported staging recovery following correction in oil markets, and as uncertainties over Fed policy and geopolitical tensions eased,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

“However, volatility is expected to linger as investors await the Fed’s final policy statement, providing clarity on the timeline of rate hikes. If the statement is as hawkish as anticipated, we cannot ignore a bounce in the market.”

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Budget 2022: Increase in custom duty on Aluminium scrap from 2.5 to 10% is key expectation

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Steel Industry

Steel Industry.

As the Indian economy pushes forward to grow at 9 per cent and above over the next few years, a key challenge for the country would be to rebalance its energy needs in favour of renewable sources by 2030 to 50 per cent as per the Paris agreement.

This is where the Aluminium sector will play a greater than ever before role. Extensive growth in electric vehicles, renewables, modern infrastructure, energy efficient consumer goods and greater dependence on strategic sectors such as aerospace and defence, will drive Aluminium consumption to grow at CAGR of 10 per cent or more. For example, Aluminium usage in EV battery is 40-50 per cent more than a normal ICE. Being 3 times lighter than steel it aids in fuel efficiency making it an efficient choice for EVs.

However, the Indian aluminium industry is struggling to revive itself over the last two years following the unprecedented Covid pandemic. The declining domestic producers market share with surging imports coupled with significant cost escalation for primary producers due to a rise in input costs of critical raw materials, escalating ocean freights & logistics costs due to container shortage, current coal crunch situation etc, is restricting the industry’s ability to support the future of the country at a time when India cannot rely on import sources alone to fuel this growth.

To give relief to the sector, there is a need for urgently looking at the duty structure. The basic custom duty on Aluminium and Aluminium scrap is not in line with other non-ferrous metals like Zink, lead, nickel and tin which is a huge disadvantage for domestic Aluminium producers. The industry expects increase in tariff rate of basic custom duty or peak custom duty rate from existing 10 per cent to 15 per cent. Currently custom duty on Primary Aluminium is 7.5 per cent, Downstream Aluminium is 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent and Aluminium scrap is only 2.5 per cent. This is the reason why despite having significant presence of primary Aluminium capacity and potential to generate sufficient domestic scrap, India’s consumption of scrap is 100 per cent import dependent. The way forward is to increase custom duty on Aluminium srap from 2.5 to 10 per cent.

Primary aluminium industry is facing severe threat from the increasing import of Aluminium scrap. The share of scrap in total imports increased from 52 per cent in FY-16 to 66 per cent in FY-21. resulting in Forex Outgo of $2 billion (Rs 15,000 crore).

What is also affecting the Indian industry is China’s renewed measures to restrict Scrap imports through National Sword Policy, which is leading to greater inflow of scrap into India. China imposed 25 per cent duty on Aluminium Scrap imports from USA, and classified Aluminium Scrap in restricted import list from July, 2019, with plan to completely ban all scrap and waste imports. Post that the share of import from the US in China’s total Aluminium scrap imports has declined from 53 per cent in 2017 to just 16 per cent in 2019. India has overtaken China as world’s largest aluminium scrap importer due to Chinese measures. As a result, entire global scrap chain is shifted to India in absence of any quality or BIS standards for scrap recycling/ usage and imports in the country. A major threat is from US scrap imports, as US is diverting large volume of scrap to India, since EU and other developed countries have stringent standards for scrap. The import from US as share of India’s total scrap imports increased from 8 per cent in FY16 to 24 per cent in FY21.

This precarious situation can be resolved by safeguarding the domestic industry against these non-essential imports in the upcoming union budget.

The industry demands increasing the basic custom duty on Chapter-76 (Aluminium & articles).

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Maruti Suzuki’s Q3FY22 net profit down 47.90%

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Automobile major Maruti Suzuki India’s Q3FY22 net profit declined by over 47 per cent on a year-on-year basis, falling to Rs 1,011.3 crore from Rs 1,941.4 crore in Q3FY21.

The automobile major cited lower sales volume along with high commodity prices and lower non-operating income on account of mark-to-market impact as factors behind the net profit decline.

Net sales for the quarter under review fell to Rs 22,187.6 crore from Rs 22,236.7 crore earned in Q3FY21.

“The company sold a total of 430,668 units during the quarter, lower than 495,897 units in the same period, previous year,” the auto major said in a statement.

“Production was constrained by a global shortage in the supply of electronic components because of which an estimated 90,000 units could not be produced.

“In the domestic market, the sales stood at 365,673 units in the quarter, against 467,369 units in Q3FY21.

“There was no lack of demand as the company had more than 240,000 pending customer orders at the end of the quarter. Though still unpredictable, the electronics supply situation is improving gradually. The company hopes to increase production in Q4, though it would not reach full capacity.”

Besides, in the quarter under review, the company clocked its highest ever exports at 64,995 units as compared to 28,528 units in Q3FY21. “This was also 66 per cent higher than the previous peak exports in any Q3.”

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