Shares in India's Paytm crash in market debut

It is India's largest-ever IPO.

But Paytm didn't get off to a good start on its market debut Thursday (November 18).

Shares in the digital payments firm plunged 25% on their first day of trade in Mumbai.

Speaking earlier in the day Chief Executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma had sounded bullish:

"Today is the day when I believe India rages up to another milestone when not just the Government of India enterprise or a large corporate conglomerate enterprise can proudly say that we could list."

Investors have questioned the firm's business model, and its lack of profits.

Paytm grew rapidly after the Indian arm of Uber made it a payment option.

It's since expanded into a host of different services, including insurance, gold sales, movie and flight ticketing and more.

A Reuters source says it now expects to break even late next year or in early 2023, though its share-sale prospectus made no such promise.

Sharma remains confidentabout the benefits of the IPO:

"Individually I see it as an opportunity to build Paytm into a global, identifiable technology company. I see it as that today we are at a stage where we are serving India and I think there is a tremendous opportunity of doing the same things in the rest of the world."

Despite the slide, the IPO valued Paytm at just over $14 billion.

The firm's success has made school-teacher's son Sharma a billionaire.

Investors, however, remain to be convinced that his company has a clear path to profitability.

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