Grab improves Q1 net sales by 39% ahead of US IPO

South East Asia's largest ride-sharing company reduced its net loss by $120 million during the first quarter of 2021.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: Getty Images

Grab has announced its first-quarter results for 2021, reporting a 39% year-on-year improvement to its adjusted net sales, which rose to $507 million.

Despite the improvement in earnings, the company continues to be in the red as it posted a $652 million net loss. The $652 million net loss figure is a 15% improvement from last year's first-quarter performance, however, when it posted a net loss of $771 million.
The quarterly financial results are the first that Grab has ever reported as it prepares to get listed later this year as part of a $39 billion special purpose acquisition company deal. Grab CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan said the listing is expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2021.  

Quarterly adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) also improved by $233 million year-on-year to a $111 million loss.

As of 31 March 2021, Grab has $4.9 billion of cash and cash equivalents, an increase of $1.4 billion since 31 December 2020. The injection of cash was primarily due to the closing of Grab's first senior secured term loan facility, valued at $2 billion, at the end of January, it said.

"We exceeded our internal targets for adjusted net sales and adjusted EBITDA for Q1 2021, and continued the strong growth momentum of our deliveries business," Grab CFO Peter Oey said.

Looking at Grab's earnings by segment, the company's deliveries arm grew 49% year-on-year to generate gross merchandise value (GMV) of $1.7 billion. Grab attributed the 49% uptick to increases in both the number of transactions and order value from an upsurge in new monthly users over the past year.

The uptick in GMV translated to increased earnings, Grab said, with the delivery segment almost doubling its adjusted net sales year-on-year to $293 million.

The company's financial services and new initiative segments also saw growth, with the two segments seeing growth of 31% and 388%, respectively, to adjusted net sales. This amounted to Grab's financial services arm posting $23 million in adjusted net sales while new initiatives posted $25 million.

Grab's mobility segment did not fare as well, with mobility GMV during the first quarter representing only around 64% of Q1 2020 levels. This led to Grab's mobility segment experiencing a 14% year-on-year decline in adjusted net sales, earning $167 million. According to Grab, the dip was due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns and restrictions imposed in Grab's various markets.

The company added it expected demand for mobility services would continue to experience volatility as the number of COVID-19 cases has resurged in various markets, which has led to renewed restrictions.

Updated at 8:58am AEST, 5 August 2021: Grab's Q1 net loss amounted to $652 million, amended from $651 million. 

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