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Internet ticketing has been IRCTC’s only profitable segment in FY21 so far

railway station trains

Key takeaways

  • Internet ticketing now accounts for 64% and 53% of the company’s Q3FY21 and FY21 operational revenue, up from 27% of FY20 operational revenue.
  • Internet ticketing has been the only profitable segment for the company in FY21.
  • All other segments, Tourism, Rail Neer, and Catering, have posted losses.
  • This quarter, internet ticketing earned ₹109 crore in profits, a fall of 44% YoY and an improvement of 78% QoQ.
  • Internet ticketing was completely driven by convenience fees charged on online ticket bookings.

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The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) posted operational revenues of ₹224.37 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2020, which is down 69% YoY but up 153% QoQ. Operations of the Indian Railways took a major hit in 2020, given the suspension of commercial railway operations in the first quarter of FY21 i.e. from April to June, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns. Operations have resumed since in a staggered manner.

  • Total Expenses: ₹140.74 crore, down 70% YoY, up 35% QoQ
  • Net Profit: ₹77.53 crore, down 62% YoY, up 127% QoQ

Internet Ticketing only profitable segment in FY21

IRCTC handles online train ticket bookings for all trains operated by the Indian government. The segment accounts for 64% and 53% of the company’s operational revenue in Q3FY21 and FY21 so far (nine months from April-December 2020), respectively. The segment made up only 27% of FY20 operational revenue.

  • It was the only segment in which IRCTC earned profits in the entire financial year of 2020-21. Internet ticketing brought the company ₹179.56 crore in profits in FY21 so far, while catering, another key segment, posted losses of ₹77.08 crore. Other segments — Rail Neer and tourism — have also posted losses in FY21 so far.
  • In this quarter, internet ticketing earned a whopping ₹109 crore in profits, representing a hike of 25% YoY and of 78% QoQ. All other segments posted losses.

Internet Ticketing revenue is fueled by the convenience fee collected on each ticket booked online: ₹15 and ₹30 for each non-AC and AC train ticket respectively. When all trains were cancelled as the nationwide lockdown was announced in March-end, the company did not refund the convenience fees along with the ticket amounts, IRCTC chair and managing director Mahendra Pratap Mall had said on an investor call in July.

This quarter, convenience fees made up the entire segment. For this quarter, the company collected ₹143.02 crore in convenience fees; and ₹236.55 crore in the nine months of FY21. Both these numbers equal its Q3FY21 revenue and FY21 revenue so far. On an investor call in July, Mall had estimated that internet ticketing would go up, while tourism, catering will suffer given distancing and hygiene concerns.

  • Revenue: ₹143 crore, down 37% YoY, up 145% QoQ (accounted for 63.7% of Q3FY21 operational revenue)
  • Profits: Profit of ₹109 crore, a fall of 44% YoY, an improvement of 78% QoQ

Catering, tourism, and other segments

Revenue 

  • Catering: ₹48.95 crore, down 82% YoY, up 185% QoQ (21.8% of Q3FY21 operational revenue)
  • Rail Neer: ₹16.93 crore, down 71% YoY, up 83% QoQ (7.5% of operational revenue)
  • Tourism: ₹15.46 crore, down 84% YoY, up 301% QoQ (6.9% of operational revenue)
  • State Teertha: Nil in Q3 and Q2, posted ₹66.4 crore in Q3FY20

Profit/Loss

  • Catering: Loss of ₹7.94 crore crore, a fall of 127% YoY and of 61% QoQ
  • Rail Neer: Loss of ₹2.04 crore, a fall of 114% YoY and of 10% QoQ
  • Tourism: Loss of ₹11.44 crore, a fall of 237% YoY and an improvement of 32% QoQ
  • State Neertha: No profit or loss recorded in the quarter, posted profits of ₹9.6 crore in Q3FY20

Notes

  • Sought waiver on fixed commitments during non-operational months: IRCTC has asked the Indian Railway Board to waive fixed commitments against various trains that the company runs, but were non-operational until October 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company expects the waiver to most likely come through and is treating the period from April 1, 2020 to October 16, 2020 as a zero period, and no provision has been made for fixed commitment charges. 
  • Contracts for catering licenses has been unilaterally increased for the period of non-operations and licensees have the option to claim refund of advance fees paid.
  • In December, the Government of India disinvested 3.2 crore shares (3,20,05,566 shares) in the company through offer for sale. The Indian government had announced its intention to sell off 20% equity stake in the company to raise over ₹4,300 crore.  

Financials

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