Grab, Southeast Asia’s largest ridesharing and delivery company, makes its market debut Thursday after a record breaking $ 40 billion merger with a special purpose vehicle (SPAC) in a listing that sets the tone for other regional offerings.
The Nasdaq backdoor listing marks the culmination of the nine-year-old Singapore-based company that started out as a ride-hailing app and now operates in 465 cities in eight countries, offering grocery delivery, payments, insurance and investment products.
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The largest US listing of a Southeast Asian company follows Grab’s agreement in April to join forces with Altimeter Growth Corp, SPAC of US technology investor Altimeter Capital Management, to raise $ 4.5 billion, including $ 750 million from Altimeter .
There is room for many players in the fragmented food delivery and financial services markets of Southeast Asia, a region of 650 million people, but analysts say the road to profitability could be long.
Grabs IPO “will provide a larger cash buffer for its” cashburn “,” S&P Global Ratings said in a press release. But “the company’s credit quality continues to be constrained by its losing businesses and free operating cash flow could be negative for the next 12 months.”
Southeast Asia’s internet economy is expected to double to $ 360 billion in gross product value by 2025, which will fuel Grab’s competitors, including regional internet company Sea Ltd and Indonesian GoTo Group, to grow.
GoTo plans a local IPO in 2022 after completing an expected $ 2 billion private fundraising, sources told Reuters. A US listing will follow the Jakarta offer.
“In the longer term, we are very excited about Grab Financial Group,” a unit of the company, said Chris Conforti, partner at Altimeter Capital. “I think the bell curve is a lot wider in terms of result, but it could be extremely big.”
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Grab was founded by Anthony Tan, the CEO, and Tan Hooi Ling, who developed the company from an idea for a venture competition at Harvard Business School in 2011. The two tans are not related.
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CEO Tan, 39, grew Grab into a regional service offering a range of services after launching it as a taxi app in Malaysia in 2012. It later moved its headquarters to Singapore.
“What we have shown the world is that local technology companies can develop great technologies that are globally competitive, even with international players in the city,” Tan told Reuters on Wednesday in an interview. “We can compete and win.”
Together with Grabs co-founder and President Ming Maa, he will own 60.4% of the voting rights, but control only 3.3% of the shares with them.
On the occasion of the New York listing, Grab and Nasdaq will ring a bell at a luxury hotel in Singapore in the middle of the Asian night. Around 250 people, including executives from the stock exchange, Grabs investors and other partners, are expected to take part.
Grabs Listing brings large numbers to early financiers like Japanese SoftBank and Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, who invested back in 2014.
Companies such as Toyota Motor Corp, Microsoft Corp and the Japanese megabank MUFG were added later. Uber became a Grab shareholder in 2018 after selling its Southeast Asian business to Grab after a five-year battle.
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In September, Grab lowered its adjusted net sales forecast for the full year, citing renewed uncertainty about movement restrictions caused by the pandemic.
Revenue for the third quarter was 9% year-over-year and adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased 66% to $ 212 million. GMV rose to a record $ 4 billion in the quarter.
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The aim is to become profitable on an EBITDA basis in 2023.
JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley were the lead placement agents on the fundraising, while Evercore and UBS were the co-placement agents.
(Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Edmund Blair, Stephen Coates and William Mallard)