The ride-hailing arm of Russian internet giant Yandex, Yandex.Taxi, is hoping to remain profitable in the second half of this year despite a sharp drop in sales as coronavirus restrictions keep people across the country at home, Reuters reports.
The company, part of Yandex’s taxi segment, which also includes its driverless cars and food delivery service, brought the company almost 25% of its first-quarter revenue, with adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) returning a profit for the fourth consecutive quarter, company results showed on Tuesday.
Yandex was preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) of its taxi segment in the first half of 2020, three banking sources told Reuters in November and had already hired three investment banks for the purpose, but the coronavirus outbreak has put market events on hold.
President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday extended a non-working period across the country until May 11 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, leaving many businesses operating under distance working regimes and citizens asked to avoid large gatherings, thereby reducing the number of journeys made by taxi.
Since the start of April, Yandex.Taxi’s gross merchandise volume (GMV) in Moscow has dropped by 60 per cent compared with the same period last year, and by 70 per cent in year-on-year terms since the beginning of March, said Daniil Shuleiko, general director of Yandex.Taxi, during a conference call.
“We started seeing a slowdown in the second part of March due to fears of the spread of COVID-19,” he said. “As a result, if in early March we were seeing almost 5 million rides per day, towards the end of March this number decreased significantly.”