Southeast Asia’s Grab mops up $1 billion funding from financial firms

Grab, which started as a taxi-booking app, has been transforming itself into a consumer technology group. (Reuters)
Updated 02 August 2018
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Southeast Asia’s Grab mops up $1 billion funding from financial firms

SINGAPORE: Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab on Thursday said it has secured new investment of $1 billion from a clutch of financial firms, including global asset manager OppenheimerFunds and China’s Ping An Capital.
The funding comes after Toyota Motor Corp. in June bought a $1 billion stake in Grab as the lead investor in a financing round launched following Grab’s acquisition of Uber Technologies Inc’s operations in Southeast Asia.
Grab said other investors in the new funding include Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Macquarie Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Six-year-old Grab, which counts Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. among its backers, was valued at just more than $10 billion after Toyota’s investment, a source familiar with the matter said at the time.
Grab, which started as a taxi-booking app, has been transforming itself into a consumer technology group, offering services such as digital payments and food delivery.
Earlier this year, Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to Grab in exchange for a stake in the Singapore-based firm, in a deal that has prompted regulatory scrutiny.
Grab said it would use the new funds to expand its online-to-offline services in Southeast Asia.
It plans to use a significant portion of the proceeds to invest in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest market where Go-Jek is the dominant player in ride-hailing.
Go-Jek counts Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., private equity firms KKR & Co., Warburg Pincus and venture capital player Sequoia Capital among its investors.


Dubai real estate market recovery to be seen as of 2022: S&P

Updated 20 February 2019
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Dubai real estate market recovery to be seen as of 2022: S&P

  • The outlook on property was part of a challenging assessment of the credit-worthiness of the emirate
  • S&P was generally comfortable with the credit ratings of the emirate’s banking system

DUBAI: S&P Global, the ratings agency, painted a grim picture for the real estate sector in Dubai, with a meaningful recovery in property prices expected only after 2022.
At a presentation to journalists in the Dubai International Financial Center, S&P analyst Sapna Jagtiani said that under the firm’s “base case scenario,” the Dubai real estate market would fall by between 5 and 10 percent this year, roughly the same as the fall in 2018, which would bring property prices to the levels seen at the bottom of the last cycle in 2010, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
“On the real estate side we continue to have a very grim view of the market. While we expect prices to broadly stabilize in 2020, we don’t see a meaningful recovery in 2021. Relative to the previous recovery cycle, we believe it will take longer time for prices to display a meaningful recovery,” she said.
S&P’s verdict adds to several recent pessimistic assessments of the Dubai real estate market. Jagtiani said that conditions in the other big UAE property market, in Abu Dhabi, were not as negative, because “Abu Dhabi never did ramp up as much in 2014 and 2015 as Dubai.” S&P does not rate developers in the capital.
She added that a “stress scenario” could arise if government and royal family related developers — such as Emaar Properties, Meraas, Dubai Properties and Nakheel — which have attractive land banks and economies of scale, continue to launch new developments.
“In such a scenario, we think residential real estate prices could decline by 10-15 percent in 2019 and a further 5-10 percent in 2020. In this case, we expect no upside for Dubai residential real estate prices in 2021, as we expect it will take a while for the market to absorb oversupply,” she said.
S&P recently downgraded Damac, one of the biggest Dubai-based developers, to BB- rating, on weak market prospects.
However, Jagtiani said that, despite the “significant oversupply” from existing projects, several factors should held stabilize the market: Few, if any, major product launches; improved affordability and “bargain hunting” by bulk buyers; and a resurgence of Asian, especially Chinese, investor interest in the market.
Jagtiani also said that government measures such as new ownership and visa regulations and reduction in government fees could help prevent prices falling more sharply, as well as “increased economic activity related to Dubai Expo 2020, which is expected to attract about 25 million visitors to the emirate.”
The outlook on property was part of a challenging assessment of the credit-worthiness of the emirate. “In our view, credit conditions deteriorated in Dubai in 2018, reducing the government’s ability to provide extraordinary financial support to its government related entities (GREs) if needed,” S&P said in a report. “The negative outlook on Dubai Electricity and Water
Authority (DEWA) partly reflects our concern that a real estate downturn beyond our base case could out increased pressure on government finances,” the report said.
It pointed out that about 70 percent of government revenues come from non-tax sources, including land transfer and mortgage registration fees, as well as charges for housing and municipality liabilities, as well as dividends from real estate developers it controls, like Emaar and Nakheel.
S&P was generally comfortable with the credit ratings of the emirate’s banking system, which has an estimated 20 percent exposure to real estate. “Banks in the UAE tend to generally display a good level of profitability and capitalization, giving them a good margin to absorb a moderate increase in risks,” the report said.