(Reuters) -Russian tech giant Yandex on Thursday reported a 54% jump in first-quarter revenue to 163.3 billion roubles ($2 billion) and a return to profitability after sliding to a net loss in the same period last year.
Since Russia despatched troops to Ukraine in February 2022, Yandex – often dubbed “Russia’s Google” – has struggled to balance domestic pressure with the interests of its Western investors. Its Dutch-registered holding company plans to divest ownership and control of most of the Yandex Group.
Yandex posted adjusted net income of 2.6 billion roubles but did not provide a comparison due to what it said was the low base effect caused by a one-off 5.9 billion-rouble payment to employees in March 2022.
Yandex last year reported a net loss of 8.1 billion roubles in the first quarter of 2022.
Revenue growth was driven by investments in advertising technologies, the company said, while analysts say the reduced presence of key competitors has also helped.
Alphabet’s Google stopped selling online advertising in Russia last March while keeping some free services available, allowing Yandex to gain market share.
Yandex said its search and portal market share averaged 63.3% in the quarter, up from 61% a year ago.
Spending on e-commerce and food delivery contributed to a 36% increase in total operating expenses, Yandex said.
The company is also a market leader in ride-hailing services and last week bought Uber out of its joint venture to become the sole owner of its Yandex.Taxi division.
Yandex sold its news feed and homepage to state-controlled rival VK last year, in part to try to depoliticise its business, according to a source close to Yandex.
Trading in its Nasdaq-listed shares has been suspended for more than a year. Yandex is appealing against Nasdaq’s plan to delist its stock.
($1 = 81.5500 roubles)
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Robert Birsel)