Grab eyes stake in Vinasun, taxi company refuses to play ball

By Hai Duyen   December 26, 2018 | 06:27 pm PT
Grab eyes stake in Vinasun, taxi company refuses to play ball
Grab's request to buy a VND65-billion worth of stake in Vinasun was rejected. Photo by Reuters/Edgar Su
Grab’s surprise offer to buy a $2.78-million stake in top taxi company Vinasun has failed, with the latter asking to end negotiations.

The negotiations between the two firms began earlier this month for compensation claimed by Vinasun from the Malaysian ride-hailing firm after the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City yet again adjourned hearing of a suit Vinasun had filed last year.

A Vinasun spokesperson told the court following the latest resumption of the trial Wednesday that his firm had declined the offer since Grab had not made an appropriate offer. "We don’t want to continue the negotiations."

But Grab does not want the lawsuit to continue.

Its spokesperson said: "We have become very tired during the 17 months of this trial for damages we did not cause. We do not want Vinasun to waste its time on this meaningless lawsuit. We consider the proposal to buy Vinasun’s stake an investment activity, and we expect to cooperate with Vinasun to end the case in a good way."

Vinasun filed the suit against Grab in June last year, accusing it of abusing the Ministry of Transport’s pilot scheme and committing violations.

It said Grab's illegal activities were responsible for nearly VND42 billion (nearly $1.8 million) of the VND76 billion ($3.25 million) worth of losses it had suffered in 2016 and the first half of 2017.

The trial began last February, but was adjourned a month later to allow for more evidence to be gathered. Grab had protested against the value of Vinasun's losses.

Last October prosecutors asked the court to accept Vinasun’s petition for compensation of nearly VND42 billion, rejecting Grab’s claim it was a tech firm and not a taxi company.

Grab responded by writing to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to say that identifying it as a taxi firm would be "a step backward from Industry 4.0."

The latest draft of a transport ministry decree requires firms offering taxi services to register as taxi firms before they can apply ride-hailing technologies.

This means that Grab and other ride-hailing firms have to register afresh as taxi businesses and comply with legal requirements related to operating licenses, drivers’ profiles and taxes.

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