Southeast Asia’s Grab sees sales jump, expects to list in Q4

HONG KONG (AP) — Grab, Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing company, saw adjusted net sales for the first three months of the year jump 39% to $507 million as it narrowed its losses, months ahead of a planned public listing in the U.S.

The Singapore-based company, which has expanded from ride-hailing to also provide food delivery and payments services, also said in its first quarterly earnings report that it expects to go public during the fourth quarter.

“We remain on track to close our proposed business combination with Altimeter Growth Corp. by the end of this year,” Grab President Ming Maa said during an earnings call Monday.

Grab in April had announced a planned merger with Altimeter Growth, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), at a valuation of nearly $40 billion that would allow it to list on the Nasdaq. With a SPAC, investors plug in cash and then wait for it to find a privately held company to merge with, allowing the target to go public more quickly than if it went through a more traditional initial public offering.

The board of directors of the merged company will include Grab CEO Anthony Tan, co-founder Tan Hooi Ling, as well as Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, together with three others, Grab said in its earnings release.

Grab said that its $507 million adjusted net sales is an all-time high and is normalized to account for excess incentives given to consumers, merchants and drivers on its platform which are expected to decline over time as its business matures.

Grab’s first-quarter growth was mainly driven by Grab’s delivery business, which includes food, groceries and parcel delivery. Its deliveries business nearly doubled, growing 96% in adjusted net sales to $293 million compared to the same time last year and contributing to more than half of its total sales.

Adjusted net sales for its ride-hailing segment however declined 14% to $167 million due to the lockdowns and impact of the coronavirus pandemic in its various markets, Grab said.

The number of monthly users who made transactions also fell 20% from 29.7 million users to 23.8 million users, although the gross merchandise value — an approximation of average user spend — increased 31% to $153 compared to the same time last year.

Grab, which was founded in 2012 and started off as a taxi-hailing service in Malaysia, now markets itself as a “super app” that allows consumers to access its variety of services from one app.

Overall, the company reported a net loss of $652 million in the quarter, down 15% from the $771 million in losses in the same period last year.

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