Grab Inc. stands firm on IPO plans - despite Covid-19

Grab food bicycle delivery.Photo: Dimitrii Ani/Dreamstime
The pandemic has dampened demand for Grab's core ride-hailing services, but given rise to the delivery business. Photo: Dimitrii Ani/Dreamstime
By Reidar Molthe

27 November 2020 12:43

Grab Inc. stands firm on IPO plans - despite Covid-19

Singapore's Grab has not changed its thinking regarding a future IPO because of COVID-19, according to its president, Ming Maa.

Grab Inc. CEO, Ming Maa. Photo: DealStreetAsia
Grab Inc. CEO, Ming Maa. Photo: DealStreetAsia

He emphasizes that one of Southeast Asia's largest unicorns remains keen to go public as it adjusts its strategies amid the pandemic.

“There's no change in our thinking around an IPO (initial public offering) or the timelines,” says Ming Maa, president of Grab Holdings Inc., whose remarks are the latest indication that the company still has an optimistic view of the future - despite or perhaps precisely because of Covid 19.

The business magazine Nikkei Asia, quoting Maa speaking at a conference on Tuesday, reported that Grab Inc. had yet to announce when it aims to go public, but faces a payout of more than US$2 billion (about RM8.17 billion) to Uber Technologies Inc if it does not do so by March 2023.

This is part of the agreement when Grab acquired Uber's Southeast Asian business in 2018 in exchange for shares. Uber owned 23.2% of Grab shares as of the end of that year.

Grab grows fast in many countries

Grab in short

Grab Holdings Inc., commonly known as Grab, is a Singaporean multinational ride-hailing company headquartered in Queenstown, Singapore.

In addition to transportation, the company offers food delivery and digital payments services via a mobile app.

It operates in the Southeast Asian countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, and the East Asian country of Japan.

Grab is valued at US$14.3 billion, according to CB Insights.

Backed by big global investors, including SoftBank Group [Corp], Grab has rapidly grown in the region, offering smartphone-based services from ride-hailing to food delivery and e-payment under its so-called 'super app' strategy.

But the pandemic has dampened demand for its core ride-hailing services, although giving rise to the delivery business. Grab's revenue is currently about 95% of pre-Covid-19 level, Nikkei Asia reports.

“Uber, like many of our shareholders, want us to focus on keeping our heads down. They want us to focus on delivering the best service for our customers. I think ultimately if we stay focused on the operational execution, then an IPO will happen at the right time,” says Ming Maa in a press statement.

Grab, with it’s headquarter in Singapore, operates in eight countries in Southeast Asia, is apparently one of the biggest unicorns, along with its Indonesian rival Gojek, in the region.

Grab was last valued at US$14.3 billion, according to CB Insights, Nikkei Asia reports.


In Norwegian context the market is not least experiencing major disruptions in the tourism industry.

Not so long ago, Petter Stordalen was almost like a pop star in the Norwegian hotel market. After many years of loan-financed growth and great successes, his chains (along with many others) are begging for state aid to survive. No one could have imagined that scenario in December 2019.

The numerous challenges facing our world today means companies, and the public, must question future business models. It is not sure that “business-as-usual” of the past decades are durable in the future. Most probably not.

In Norway however, the grocery business is growing as much as ever because people do not go out to dine and are restricted to go to Sweden for cheap meat and alcohol.

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, The Edge Market, Grab Inc., DealStreetAsia.

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