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Real estate sector looking up; remain bullish on JeevanSathi, says Info Edge's Hitesh Oberoi

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The Naukri jobspeak index has declined for the second consecutive month in November. It is now down 20 percent from the level seen in September earlier this year. To discuss this and outlook from here, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Hitesh Oberoi, CEO and Managing Director at Info Edge. Info Edge is optimistic of good realty growth over the long term. Also the company is bullish on JeevanSaathi's fortunes.

Internet company Info Edge, which runs the real estate platform 99acres.com, is optimistic of good realty growth over the long term, while also adding that it remains bullish on JeevanSaathi's fortunes.
Pointing to favourable macroeconomic trends, company CEO Hitesh Oberoi said competitive intensity is high in the sector, which is seeing venture capital money pouring in.
Oberoi said, “The good news on real estate is that the macro trends are in favour of a good real estate market in the long run. Real estate has become more affordable because prices have not risen in the last few years while wages have gone up, too. Home loan rates are at an all-time low so that is the good news. Now after a long time, the macro story looks very good and this is likely to result in higher demand for real estate and also higher prices in the medium term. We are not seeing investors rush back into the market. But there are enough end-users and buyers looking for homes.”
He added. “As far as our business goes, it's a little different because the story is a little different. Because there is a lot more competitive activity competition activity in real estate, there's a lot of venture money flowing in and that is resulting in more competition amongst real estate players in the market. So that may play out a little differently from the overall real estate market.”
Oberoi said Info Edge has been a strategic financial investor over the last 12-13 years. Apart from 99acres.com, the company runs the job portal naukri.com and matrimony website JeevanSathi.com.
He said food app Zomato, which has also made strategic investments in adjacent sectors, and drawn comparisons with Info Edge, seems to have a well-thought-out plan. In November, Zomato had announced investments in 3 companies and outlined another $1 billion worth of buys in the next couple of years.
Oberoi said, “As Info Edge we have been investing for the last 12-13 years now. We made a lot of financial investments and we have also made a lot of strategic investments. From what I can see Zomato also seems to be investing in adjacent areas. It is not as if they are making a lot of financial investments. To me, it looks like they are in when investing in strategic spaces which are adjacent to their business. So I think it is a well-thought-through strategy.”
Oberoi revealed that Info Edge had made a late-stage investment in travel portal Ixigo, which intends to go public soon.
The company continues to be bullish on JeevanSaathi, whose business was badly hit by the second wave of Covid-19. "Right now we're in the middle of a big wedding season," he said, sounding optimistic.
“This is right now we are in the middle of a very, very big marriage season again you hear stories of lakhs of people getting married and so on and so forth. So we are not giving up on Jeevansathi, we continue to be bullish. In fact, we are looking at how to sort of invest in adjacent areas around Jeevansathi. So we will continue to invest in that business for the foreseeable future.”
In November, Info Edge had reported its best-ever quarter in a decade, riding on the performance of Naukri.com. The company's scrip opened the day at Rs 5,691.15 apiece, up 45 points from the previous close of Rs 5,646, and was trading in the red in the morning trade.
For full management commentary, watch the video.
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