Google overtakes Russia's Yandex in number of users

By bne IntelliNews June 1, 2016

Internet giant Google now has more Russian internet users than local web major Yandex, according to a May 31 report by Vedomosti daily.

According to the TNS market researcher, Yandex counted 20.4mn users, closely followed by with 19.3mn.

Notably, Google's reach in April was attributed to penetration from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, measured by TNS on a country-wide scale for the first time.

In 2015, Yandex filed complaints against Google to Russia's anti-monopoly watchdog arguing that Google should unbundle its pre-installed applications on Android mobile devices.

In January 2016 the Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) said it will levy a fine of 7% of 2014 turnover on US Google Corporation for anti-competition practices. However, the fine is still conditioned by Google's appeal pending in the Moscow Arbitration Court since December 2015.

Meanwhile, in terms of daily users, Yandex still retained leadership with 12.3mn users in April, followed by social network Vkontakte with 12.1mn and Google with 11mn users, a survey of 0.7mn people aged 12 to 64 by TNS shows.

The survey also showed that about 60% of Google users access the site exclusively through mobile devices, while Yandex's audience is more likely to be based on desktop computers and laptops.

In another recent survey TNS discovered that the increase in the number of internet users in Russia slowed in 2015 to reach 83mn people, up just 1mn people or 1.2% more y/y.

The statistics apply to residents of cities with a population of over 100,000 people and those over 12 years of age who connect to the network through various devices. The increase brought the proportionate share of internet users to 68% of the overall Russian population of 146mn people.

Yandex, which is the anchor service Runet's main search engine, on April 28 reported net profit decline of 50% in the first quarter of 2016 to RUB1.1bn, while posting strong growth in many areas.

The loss was attributed to currency losses, and the company's adjusted net profit showed a 41% y/y increase to RUB3.2bn.

Revenues gained a strong 34% y/y to RUB16.5bn in the reporting quarter, with adjusted Ebitda jumping by 62% to RUB5.8bn. Revenues from advertising advanced 31% to RUB15.8bn.

Revenue growth was 7% above the consensus forecast and 5% above VTB Capital's expectations, while Ebitda beat the investment bank's forecasts by 23% and 20%, respectively.

"Yandex had a good start of 2016 and we are starting to see signs of improvement in the economy," the company's CEO Arkady Volozha commented.

Due to the more favourable environment, the management upgraded the outlook on revenue growth for 2016 from previous 12-18% to 15-19%.

"Given the strong trends in 1Q16 we see even the updated guidance as fairly conservative," VTB Bank said, noting that first quarter numbers revealed strong growth trends in new business units.

This supports the bank's view that non-ad revenues are likely to become an important source of top line diversification and growth.

  2014 2015 2016E 2017E
Financials, $ mln        
Revenues 1,337 986 857 972
EBITDA 554 346 286 335
EBITDA margin 41% 35% 33% 34%
Net income 549 160 138 169
EPS (adj), $ 1.13 0.63 0.54 0.65
Div/share, $ 0 0 0 0
Valuation, Gearing and Yield        
EV/EBITDA 6.4 13.1 15.6 12.8
P/E 10.6 23.9 28.1 23.3
P/CF 9.9 15.6 17.2 14.9
Net debt/EBITDA neg neg neg neg
Dividend yield 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Revenues 8% -26% -13% 13%
EBITDA 2% -38% -17% 17%
EPS (adj) -3% -44% -15% 20%
Sector Valuation      
EV/EBITDA 7.5 12.7 13.2 10.8
P/E 9.8 21.5 22.1 18.4
P/CF 4.2 15.9 16.2 13.8
Sector Growth      
Revenues 5% -28% -6% 13%
EBITDA -1% -35% -6% 16%
EPS 13% -42% -1%  
Main Shareholders      
Baring Vostok     4.50%
Founders and senior management 10.90%      
Other 5.40%      
Free float 75.40%      
Treasury shares 3.80%      

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