Southeast Asia’s ‘Super App’ Grab Slides 20% in Nasdaq Debut

The Singapore-based ride-hailing, delivery and payment giant’s IPO was the biggest ever US listing by a Southeast Asian company, and follows a $40 billion merger with tech investor Altimeter Capital Management’s SPAC in April.

Grab’s shares rose as much as 21 percent in the opening minutes after its listing on Thursday before falling to trade 23 percent lower than the listed price.

Founded in 2012, Grab offers access to a regional consumer market of more than 655 million people across countries including Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Although it’s best-known as a ride-hailing company, for fashion and beauty retailers operating in Southeast Asia, the digital payments services of Grab and rival Gojek are becoming increasingly important.

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For example, Grab’s payment affiliate, Ovo, is already accepted by major Southeast Asian e-commerce players, including online fashion platform Zalora, which stocks brands including Mango, Prada and Balenciaga and receives over 50 million visits a month.

In September, Grab cut its full-year adjusted net sales forecasts due to continuing uncertainty over pandemic curbs on movement. Its third quarter revenue fell 9 percent from a year earlier and adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) widened 66 percent to $212 million. Gross merchandising volume (GMV, a commonly used metric for online sales) was up to a record $4 billion for the quarter.

Grab has said it aims to turn profitable on an EBITDA basis in 2023.

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Gojek is ingrained in the consumer psyche across Southeast Asia. With recent investment from Facebook the ‘super-app’ is now valued at $10 billion and poised to boost e-commerce in the region.

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