‘Zerodha’s valuation is way higher than reality’: CEO Nithin Kamath

India’s largest stock broking platform Zerodha’s growth slowed down its fiscal year 2023 as the net profits grew 39% to 2900 crore from 2094 crore in the fiscal before. The revenue of the company grew by 35.5% to 6875 crore in FY23 from 4694 crore during the fiscal year 2022. A day after the financial results came out, Zerodha founder and CEO Nithin Kamath shared a long post on X on how Zerodha’s valuation is higher than calculated.

“Every time our financials are out, there is a lot of speculation about @zerodhaonline’s valuation. It might sound counterintuitive for me to say it, but most assumptions, I think, are way higher than reality,” Nithin Kamath said in the post.

Also Read: Zerodha’s FY23 profit growth slows, but remains bullish on F&Os

He mentioned that focusing on the ever-changing valuations is a distraction and the main focus of Zerodha’s core team was to build a resilient business.

“All of us on the core team have never thought of notional valuations right from the start because they can go up and down with market conditions. Focussing on ever-changing valuations is a distraction. The focus has always been on building a resilient business, which means never having to rely on external capital,” he added.

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“The quantum of profits is the luck of the draw and is based on market conditions. Stockbroking and capital market businesses are cyclical and high-risk. Almost every bull run in the markets creates the illusion that somehow participation and activity will keep going up forever. We keep discussing internally that we could see a 50% dip in activity and revenue if markets fall in no time. None of it is really under our control. And yeah, one circular is also enough to bring down our revenue by more than 50%,” Nithin Kamath said.

“We think that at the scale we are at, we can potentially grow by 10 to 15% in the long run, factoring in the drawdowns that are guaranteed,” he added.

Nithin Kamath also talked about the attempts at diversification in public holdings. “We are trying to diversify with everything we are doing in Rainmatter, our public holdings, and with large investments in the AMC business (@ZerodhaAMC), insurance advisory (@joinditto), and loan against securities (@zerodhacapital). Today, the revenues from these businesses are not significant, but hopefully, they will go up and help us maintain long-term growth,” he said.

Why moderate rate of growth?

Nithin Kamath also explained why he has mentioned a moderate growth rate of 10 to 15% and said Zerodha wants to keep its core philosophies intact like no spam, no revenue or sales targets, no tracking customer data to push people to do more, etc.

“Why only 10 to 15%? As I mentioned in our post recently, the problem with trying to grow fast is that it is very hard given some of our core philosophies at Zerodha, like no spam, no revenue or sales targets, no tracking customer data to push people to do more, no spending on acquiring customers, etc. I think our moat is the philosophy, and without it, we could lose out in the long run,” he said.

“So if 10 to 15% is the long-term growth, we value ourselves in the range of 10 to 15 times our earnings (PAT). At the lower end when near bull market highs. This is how we have been valuing ourselves for all buybacks (founders and team) for a while now. So ~ 30,000 crores and not the 1 lakh to 2 lakh crores some folks online were guesstimating,” the Zerodha CEO added.

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Updated: 28 Sep 2023, 05:07 PM IST