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India's Paytm Q1 loss rises on higher expenses

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MUMBAI, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Indian digital payments firm Paytm (PAYT.NS) on Friday reported a wider first-quarter loss as expenses related to marketing and employee benefits rose, but reiterated its target of achieving operational profitability next year.

The company's parent firm One 97 Communications Ltd posted a consolidated net loss for Paytm of 6.45 billion rupees ($81.28 million) for the quarter ended June 30, 69% higher than the loss of 3.81 billion rupees ($48 million) a year earlier

Total income however rose nearly 88% to 17.81 billion Indian rupees, the company's stock exchange filing stated.

Paytm, which competes with Google's (GOOGL.O) payment app and Walmart Inc's (WMT.N) PhonePe in India's digital payments market, said it is targeting achieving operational profitability by September 2023.

The company is "firmly on the path towards achieving operating profitability on the back of better cost leverage", it said.

Its total expenses rose 84%, with marketing and employee benefit costs rising sharply.

Paytm disbursed loans worth 55.54 billion rupees in the quarter, nearly nine times more than a year before, it said last month.

The company, backed by China's Ant Group and Japan's SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), raised $2.5 billion late last year in one of India's biggest initial public offerings, but made a dismal debut due to concerns over its high valuation and an uncertain path to profitability. read more

Reporting by M. Sriram; Editing by Aditya Kalra, Kirsten Donovan and Jan Harvey
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