The Swedish fintech company continues to attract new stars in its hunt for consumers who want to pay by invoice or instalment. At least in 2022, a year of crisis for the tech industry in general and Klarna in particular, things didn’t necessarily go “smoothly” for the payment and BNPL provider around CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski.
As today’s annual figures for 2022 show, gross merchandise volume (GMV, external sales) grew to €75.62bn (+22%) and sales to €1.74bn (+19% yoy 2021). The number of users also rose to 150 million. But there was one figure that really stood out. The Swedish company’s loss widened to 946 million euros last year – from 596 million euros in 2021. That means the fresh $800 million that Klarna raised in a massive down round in July 2022 is as good as gone (Trending Topics reported).
Klarna reportedly laid off around 10 percent of its workforce last year and took an 85 percent write-down to 6.7 billion euros. Despite the sharp rise in losses, the company says it is optimistic. “The company’s current goal is to return to profitability by summer 2023, while optimising for continued growth this year and beyond,” according to investor:inside documents.
USA now more important than Germany
The CEO argues that headcount has been reduced and investments have been adjusted. “As a result, we are making concrete progress towards profitability while driving e-commerce growth and reducing credit losses and costs,” Siemiatkowski told shareholders. The company managed to reduce credit losses by 37 per cent, he said, despite having grown revenue and GMV in 2022. Samsung, Groupon, Booking.com, Instacart, Tractor Supply Company and the Fossil Group have also been added, making the US the most important market, ahead of Germany, accounting for 34 of the total 150 million users.
The question of whether this is enough for the shareholders is now going to be an interesting one. Klarna is considered one of the candidates for an IPO in 2023, and given the losses the Swedish company is still posting, another injection of capital will be needed. This capital could be raised on the stock exchange – and the message would be that profitability can be achieved in the summer of 2023. Whether this will happen remains to be seen.