I attended the online Indiamart AGM today. Though I know that many AGMs are a waste of time, some of them tell you just a little bit more about the company or the management. This was one such.
After a short opening remark, the AGM was adjourned for 20 minutes to elect a Chairman for the meeting – I realised Indiamart Board doesn’t have a Chairman! (Not sure how I missed this earlier, very stupid of me). Thereafter, the temporary Chairman read out his opening statement and then the management took up the Q & A session. At the session, the management answered 2-3 questions and then said the remaining questions will be answered to the questioners individually by email within the next one week. The AGM was over.
No shareholder was given a chance to speak live, something which is the very purpose of an AGM. Even all the written questions submitted were not answered, though time was available. The event was wound up in hardly 10-15 minutes (excluding the adjournment). This is certainly unethical and probably illegal. I have attended dozens of AGMs but it never happens like this. Even Mr. Yusuf Rangwala is given a chance to speak!
IMHO, this just shows the utter contempt the management has for retail shareholders and for AGM as an event. You need to put up at least a pretence of seriousness. After all, it is a statutory mandate and supposed to serve the purpose of shareholder – management interaction. At other times, Indiamart management perhaps does more analyst & institutional investor interactions than any other company.
Even the questions that were answered today, the sound quality was quite poor and very difficult to follow. I remember during the last quarterly concall also, the quality of audio was so poor that one of the analysts suggested the management to terminate the call and reschedule it later. So much for being a technology company!!
Meanwhile, I am posting here two questions I had submitted for the AGM. If the management answers them, I will post their responses.
- We have made several minority stake investments in start-ups over the years. Can you shed some light on how they are progressing, and which are the most promising ones where you feel there are chances of a profitable exit and by when it can be achieved?
Update on 25-Sep-2022:
Response: As you know we have raised about Rs 1,070 crore from QIP with a clear agenda of "investments in SaaS-based companies with the purpose of business and commerce enablement on the platform. So, we went ahead and made investments into businesses with synergies that could benefit from our network of over 154 million buyers and 7.2 million+ storefronts. These companies provide solutions in areas of accounting, logistics, legal tech, HR payroll management etc which are the core needs of small businesses. And we hope to capitalize on this rising need in the long term.
For example, in accounting, micro and small businesses can benefit from Vyapaar’s offerings, medium-sized ones can avail of Busy’s software, while large businesses that need a multi-location facility can use Realbooks. Then, HR and payroll management are taken care of by Zimyo , invoicing by M1Xchange and likewise for others too.
While most of these are minority investments, all of them are strategic investments done - “to gain and to offer”. We have a clear vision with these investments, of providing a holistic ecosystem for all business needs. This involves a collaborative and integrated ecosystem or bundling of services for finance and accounting, payroll, attendance and HR management modules, and logistic companies, among others.
We are understanding the customer persona of these companies and the pain points to guide them better with our experience and understanding of sales strategies. Currently, these companies are in the growth stage and we expect the return on these strategic investments to fructify in the long term.
- Though the audited financials were published by the end of April 2022, the AGM is being held only now in the end of September. What is the reason for this delay, and will it be possible to hold the AGM earlier next year?
Update on 25-Sep-2022:
Response: Please note that pursuant to the applicable provisions of Companies Act, 2013, the AGM of the Company has been held within the statutory timelines. However, we took note of your request to hold an AGM earlier next year.
(Disc.: At the time of writing this, I am still a shareholder. As I have said before, it is always a dilemma what to do with such stocks – a good business with a bad management!)
(Note: This post has been updated on 25-Sep-2022 with the company’s responses.)