GoTo Group narrowed losses after prioritizing the bottom-line over revenue growth, taking the Indonesian internet leader closer to its goal of getting into the black after an era of costly expansion.
(Bloomberg) — GoTo Group narrowed losses after prioritizing the bottom-line over revenue growth, taking the Indonesian internet leader closer to its goal of getting into the black after an era of costly expansion.
Its shares extended gains to rise as much as 6.6%, the biggest intraday gain since June, in afternoon trading in Jakarta. Indonesia’s largest tech company reported a 48% drop in first-half net losses to 7.16 trillion rupiah ($466.7 million). Net revenue, which strips out incentives to driver and merchant partners and promotions to users, doubled to 6.88 trillion rupiah.
The performance is a boost for Patrick Walujo, who took over as chief executive in June. The managing partner of major GoTo-shareholder Northstar Group is tasked with carrying out his predecessors’ campaign to shave losses by cutting jobs, curbing promotional spending and tightening expense controls. Like rivals Grab Holdings Ltd. and Sea Ltd., GoTo is trying to convince investors it can generate cash after years of rapid growth, despite economic uncertainty and sluggish consumer spending across Southeast Asia.
Going into the second half, the “outlook should be slightly improving due to more government spending and liquidity ahead of the election in Indonesia, though we think that the e-commerce landscape is likely to remain competitive as TikTok remains aggressive,” Citigroup analysts Ferry Wong and Ryan Davis wrote.
Read more: Indonesia Internet Pioneer Replaces CEO as It Races for Profit
Shares of GoTo have struggled to gain momentum in 2023 as losses swelled, leaving them down more than 70% since the company’s stock-market debut last year.
What Bloomberg Intelligence Says
GoTo’s contribution margin could further improve in 2Q after turning positive for the first time the previous quarter, barring slower-than-expected growth in gross transaction value (GTV) driven by weaker discretionary spending and TikTok Shop’s rise. These risks could reduce GTV and more than offset higher Gojek’s ride orders — driven by recovery in international and regional travel — and better e-commerce monetization to weigh on contribution margin, or revenue after customer promotions, cost of sales, and marketing expenses in 2Q. Margin risks may deepen with normalizing food delivery demand. GoTo might still be on track for its breakeven goal — on an adjusted Ebitda basis — in 4Q, as we expect these risks to ease in 2H particularly with easier year-earlier comparisons.
– Nathan Naidu, analysts
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GoTo cut 600 roles from its workforce in March, adding to the 1,300 jobs it axed in 2022. The company said the cuts helped it reduce monthly fixed expenses by about 20% in January and February and it has also slashed marketing spending. In February, it brought forward its target for making profits by a year, expecting adjusted Ebitda to turn positive in the fourth quarter of 2023.
“Despite macroeconomic uncertainty, Indonesia’s digital economy shows resilience with a shift towards online spending and adoption of digital technologies,” Buana Capital analysts wrote in July, estimating the country’s digital economy could grow 19% annually to $130 billion by 2025.
–With assistance from Norman Harsono, Mayumi Negishi and Soraya Permatasari.
(Updates with shares in the second paragraph)
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