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Grab's Anthony Tan hits billionaire status for a few hours after Nasdaq listing

Grab's Anthony Tan hits billionaire status for a few hours after Nasdaq listing

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Grab’s co-founder Anthony Tan (pictured right) was reportedly hit billionaire status for a few hours after the company’s listing on Nasdaq before its stock slipped. According to Bloomberg, Grab rose in pre-market trading in New York and opened at US$13.06. However, approximately US$17 billion was eliminated from Grab's market value when its shares dropped more than 21% to US$8.61 on the first day. Tan’s stake, which was initially worth over US$1 billion, is now worth US$725 million, Bloomberg said. 

Grab first announced its merger with special purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth Corp in April, raising about US$4.5 billion in cash and valuing Grab’s shares at US$39.6 billion. The ride-hailing company previously said that this is expected to be the largest-ever US equity offering by a Southeast Asian company. The US$4 billion came from private investment in public equity and among the list of companies that joined included BlackRock and Fidelity International, Bloomberg said.

Founded in 2012 as a taxi-hailing app, Grab is now available in eight countries and over 400 cities as a superapp, allowing consumers to eat, ride and pay. Tan reiterated during the public listing yesterday that Grab's mission is about driving Southeast Asia forward by creating economic empowerment for everyone. There was plenty of chatter late in 2020 and earlier this year about Grab potentially merging with Gojek. This then resulted in the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore looking into the potential merger. Gojek eventually merged with Tokopedia to form GoTo Group in May, making it Indonesia's biggest deal. 

COVID-19 and lockdowns have been challenging for Grab, which posted a US$988 million loss during the third quarter of 2021. Loss for the same period last year was US$622 million. According to Grab, the YoY increase in losses during Q3 2021 as driven primarily by non-cash expenses, including $748 million in non-cash items.

Its revenue dipped 9% to US$157 million YoY as a result of the expected decline in mobility due to the severe lockdowns in Vietnam. Grab’s reported revenue is net of consumer,  merchant and driver-partner incentives. The number of monthly transacting users (MTUs) dipped by 8% YoY, as a result of total lockdowns across Vietnam during the quarter, which saw food delivery and ride-hailing services suspended. Normalised for Vietnam, Grab estimated that MTUs would have grown to 24.8 million. Its average spend per user increased by 43% YoY.

At the same time, Grab's GMV grew 32% YoY to reach US$4.0 billion, which the company said was a new record. Its deliveries also grew 63% YoY to reach US$2.3 billion, which offset a 30% YoY decline in mobility GMV due to lockdowns and movement restrictions in many of its markets caused by COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

CFO Peter Oey previously explained in the earnings release that mobility and food delivery services were suspended in Vietnam for most of the third quarter, and six of its core countries in which it operate experienced tighter movement controls. In October, the company brought on board Alex Hungate as COO, effective 4 January 2022. He joins from SATS where he was CEO and executive director.

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