QIWI Plc (NASDAQ:QIWI) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
May 16, 2019 • 08:30 am ET
through some latest developments in this segments in just a moment. We believe that our performance provides a solid foundation for the expansion of our ecosystem and our business, significant cash flows that are generated by our core payment business, supports our strategy and allow us to carry with investing in new projects in order to further build up our ecosystem, diversify our operations and ultimately secure long term growth prospects of our Company.
Now onto to some operating highlights. For the first quarter of 2019, our payment services segment volume increased by 31% to reach RUB326 billion, driven by the significant growth in e-commerce and money remittance verticals, which grew 79% and 36% respectively. The growth was largely driven by the secular trends in development of our focused merchants and customers categories, reinforced by the expansion of our product offering. Our total consumer financial services segment payment volume reached RUB5 billion, for the first quarter of 2019, more than doubling as compared to the same period of the prior year.
During the last several quarters, we are significantly advanced in development our service projects, enhanced the product offering by introducing consumer bid value at options and other technological features and improved in several key operating dimensions. We optimize the distribution network and improved our cost of risk. All these factors, help us to reach positive consumer unit economics. We see an ample room for the development of SOVEST project going forward. We continue testing our multi-bank model together with AK Bars Bank and may contemplate new potential partnerships to support and reinforce the scaling of the project.
Our SME segment, which we developed through Tochka multi-bank platform together with Otkritie bank, continued to demonstrate robust operating and financial performance in the first quarter of 2019. While we were finally able to transfer this project to JCS Tochka as previously agreed. The same time, we continue to develop a new Rocketbank strategy and product offering, assessing the market and testing policies, regarding consumer behavior and preferences. We aim to provide the update on Rocketbank mid-term strategy by the end of the year.
Strong growth in our key market verticals converted into robust payment services segment net revenue growth. And together with SME and the CSS segments, contributed to the overall robust performance of our business. Alexander, will walk you through the first quarter numbers and more details in just a moment. While I would like to walk you through some recent developments.
I'm glad to announce that this quarter, we are returning to paying our dividend and our Board of Directors approved the all times high payout in terms of cents per share per quarter. We believe that distributing excess cash to the shareholders is good practice, needed to provide maximum transparency and consistency in this respect going forward.
Last but not the least, I'm happy to announce that our Board of Directors has appointed Varvara Kiseleva as our Interim Chief Financial Officer. Varvara has served our our Head of