Grab poised for Nasdaq debut after delay, COVID-hit quarter

Singapore-based mobile platform will begin trading December 2 on Nasdaq, finally kicking off its IPO after an initial delay in its SPAC merger and third-quarter earnings report last month that saw wider losses of almost $1 billion.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Grab Holdings will make its Nasdaq debut on December 2, after shareholders approved its special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal with Altimeter Growth. The IPO comes following an initial delay and a third-quarter report last month that saw Grab clock wider losses of $988 million. 

Grab said in a statement Thursday it completed its merger with Altimeter in a deal that raised $4.5 billion in gross proceeds, marking the largest US public market debut by a Southeast Asian company. Shareholders on Tuesday approved the SPAC deal, which was announced in April, and set the Singapore-based mobile platform on course for a Nasdaq listing under the ticker symbol GRAB

The SPAC deal is touted to be the biggest US equity offering, clocking at an estimated value of $39.6 billion, including the $4.5 billion cash proceeds. Initially slated to take place "several months" following the announcement, the IPO was delayed until year-end after Grab said in June that it was awaiting approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission. 

In its third-quarter earnings report last month, the mobile apps company said it saw losses widen year-on-year by $366 million to $988 million. Executives described the quarter as "challenging" due to the global pandemic, which saw its mobility and food delivery services in Vietnam suspended for most of the third quarter as well as tighter movement controls in six of its key markets in the region.

Starting out as a ride-sharing operator, Grab's service portfolio has since expanded to include food delivery, digital wallets, and other fintech services such as insurance. Founded in 2012, it currently has operations in eight Southeast Asian markets including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. 

Grab's third-quarter revenue dipped 9% year-on-year to $157 million amidst the lockdowns, with gross merchandise value (GMV) for its mobility business dropping 30% to $529 million.

The company, however, saw positive results in its delivery business, which GMV climbed 63% to hit a record $2.3 billion. Gross billings for deliveries also increased 74% to $422 million, with revenue clocking a 58% growth to $49 million. Financial services also saw stellar results, growing 44% to reach a record $3.1 billion in total payments volume. 

In its statement Thursday, Grab's group CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan said: "We truly believe this is Southeast Asia's time to shine and we hope that our entrance into the global public market will help bring greater attention to the tremendous opportunity here in the region.

"From on-demand mobility and deliveries to digital financial services, enterprise services and more, we believe we are only scratching the surface of the opportunity ahead of us," Tan said. "While there's no doubt this is an exciting moment, we're grounded in the knowledge that this is just day one. Our calling remains the same--to unlock greater opportunity for all Southeast Asians to participate in the digital economy."

Grab's GMV totalled $11.5 billion over three quarters in 2021, through to September 30. It processed 1 billion transactions in the first half of the year. It runs a network of more than 5 million driver-partners and more than 2 million registered food delivery merchant-partners across the region. Some 55% of Grab customers used more than one service in June 2021, up from 33% in December 2018, according to the company. 


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