Grab Holdings Inc., Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing and delivery giant, slightly lowered its projections for some key metrics for 2021 as the region is battling one of the world’s worst Covid-19 outbreaks due to the fast-spreading delta variant. 

The Singapore-based company, which is set to go public in the US through a deal with a blank-cheque company, expects full-year adjusted net sales of US$2.1 billion ($2.82 billion) to US$2.2 billion, according to a statement Tuesday. That compares with the US$2.3 billion it forecast in an investor presentation in April. Grab also expects full-year gross merchandise value of US$15 billion to US$15.5 billion, compared with an earlier projection of US$16.7 billion. 

Grab said it “remains cautious of the renewed uncertainty of movement restrictions in Southeast Asia related to Covid-19.” The full-year outlook “anticipates an extension of partial and complete lockdowns throughout several countries where Grab operates as a result of continuing spread of Covid-19.” 

With infections rising as the more contagious delta variant of Covid spreads, many parts of Southeast Asia, home to 650 million people, have reimposed curbs on movement that hamper consumer-reliant economies. Lockdowns have devastated businesses and dealt a setback to the region’s middle class. In July, the Asian Development Bank downgraded its Southeast Asian growth forecast to 4% from 4.4%. 

During the second quarter, Grab’s net loss widened to US$815 million from US$718 million a year earlier. Revenue more than doubled to US$180 million. 

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Grab reported its second quarterly financial results as it prepares to merge with Altimeter Growth Gorp., the special purpose acquisition company of Brad Gerstner’s Altimeter Capital Management. Grab has postponed the US$40 billion deal -- one of the largest-ever mergers with a SPAC -- to the fourth quarter as it works on an audit of the past three years’ accounts.

Grab said Tuesday the planned merger with Altimeter is expected to close in the fourth quarter. 

Key Insights 

  • Adjusted net sales, a revenue measure that doesn’t comply with the International Financial Reporting Standards, rose 92% to US$550 million in the second quarter.
  • Second-quarter GMV grew 62% to record US$3.9 billion, led by mobility services
  • Deliveries revenue was US$45 million, up 92% from a year ago.
  • Mobility revenue was US$118 million, up 129% from a year ago.
  • Financial services revenue was US$6 million, up 156% from a year ago.

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  • Grab expects demand for mobility services to improve in the coming quarters as vaccination rates increase across the region.
  • Grab started an online supermarket in the Philippines in September, offering consumers next-day delivery of groceries
  • Grab also plans to launch 10 new GrabKitchens in the second half of this year.
Photo: Bloomberg