Meru aims expansion in new cities, plans to become $1bn firm by 2022


Taxi services provider Meru aims to be a USD one billion firm in the next six years with expansion in new cities and launch of new services to tap the potential of its existing markets. The company, which returned to profit in the December quarter after a gap of almost six quarters, is aiming to have a network of one lakh cars by 2022. It will buy around 10,000 vehicles by this period.

"We want to be a USD one billion organisation by 2022. We are having an year-on-year growth of 35 per cent. Last year, we grew at around 40 per cent," Meru Group CEO Siddhartha Pahwa told PTI. Meru, which operates taxi services in 23 cities, has a revenue of USD 120 million (Rs 730 crore) with a consumer base of 10 million.

The company is planning to expand its network to 45 cities by adding more tier-II cities such as Patna, Bareilly, Bhopal etc. which have good potential by the end of 2017. The firm has a fleet of 20,000 cars, of which it owns 6,000 and rest are on aggregator business model.

"We would continue to add 1,500- 2,000 cars every year in our own business, in which 1,000 would be for replacement of the old vehicles and rest would be addition. But on aggregator side, we are seeing 20-30 per cent growth every year," he said.

"We have come in profit in the last quarter, for October-December 2015. Now we have the potential to keep investing back in the company from its own internal resources. This would give stability in our operations," Pahwa added.

He further said Merus operation in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Kolkata has become totally profitable. "Some cities are making healthy profit at PBT level which we are ploughing back in some other cities but at gross profit level, each and every city is now making profit, which is a healthy sign," Pahwa said.

In the rest 17 cities, Meru will continue to invest in the operations to make them profitable. "In these cities, we would continue to invest little bit more because for any city to grow, you need to make investment in terms of price offs, marketing, getting more drivers in the system. It would continue to be there," he said. Meru has launched two new services recently, carpool and ride share, and both are doing well, he said.


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