Grab’s slowdown is where rubber hits road

By Reuters   March 3, 2022 | 11:42 pm PT
Grab’s slowdown is where rubber hits road
Online motorbike taxi drivers use their smartphones while waiting for customers in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 10, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Willy Kurniawan
Grab is perilously navigating around grumpy investors, reluctant drivers and fickle users.

The Southeast Asian super app's shares plunged 37% in New York on Thursday after the company reported its first quarterly earnings since listing.

The stock is now 70% below its December debut via a $31 billion merger with a blank-cheque firm. A muted outlook and intensifying competition add more drag.

The ride-hailing to food-delivery specialist beat its own guidance for value of transactions. But it is splurging on promotions to lure drivers and other partners back after Covid-19 lockdowns and to maintain market share. Total revenue fell 44% year-on-year to $122 million in the December quarter and its net loss widened 73% to $1.1 billion.

Worryingly, Grab expects transaction values processed by its mobility, deliveries and financial-services units for the March quarter to be at or below the previous three months. It’s hurting in payments particularly after two rivals merged to form GoTo, a powerhouse in the key Indonesian market. There may be seasonal factors too, but Grab’s engines are sputtering at an unforgiving time.

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