Grab’s $40bn Nasdaq debut to set tone for Southeast Asian tech listings

Grab’s $40bn Nasdaq debut to set tone for Southeast Asian tech listings
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Updated 02 December 2021

Grab’s $40bn Nasdaq debut to set tone for Southeast Asian tech listings

Grab’s $40bn Nasdaq debut to set tone for Southeast Asian tech listings
  • Grab’s listing brings a payday bonanza to early backers such as Japan’s SoftBank and Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing

Grab, Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing and delivery firm, makes its market debut on Thursday after a record $40 billion merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), in a listing that will set the tone for other regional offerings.


The backdoor listing on Nasdaq marks the high point for the nine-year-old Singapore company that began as a ride-hailing app and now operates across 465 cities in eight countries, offering food deliveries, payments, insurance and investment products.


The biggest US listing by a Southeast Asian company follows Grab’s April agreement to merge with US tech investor Altimeter Capital Management’s SPAC, Altimeter Growth Corp. and raise $4.5 billion, including $750 million from Altimeter.


There is scope for many players in the fragmented food delivery and financial services markets in Southeast Asia, a region of 650 million people, but the road to profitability could be a long one, analysts say.


Grab’s flotation “will provide a bigger cash buffer” to its “cash burn,” S&P Global Ratings said in a note. But the company’s “credit quality continues to be constrained by its loss-making operations, and free operating cash flows could be negative over the next 12 months.”


Southeast Asia’s Internet economy is forecast to double to $360 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025, prompting Grab’s rivals, including regional Internet firm Sea Ltd. and Indonesia’s GoTo Group, to bulk up.


GoTo plans a local IPO in 2022 after completing an expected $2 billion private fundraising, sources have told Reuters. A US listing will follow the Jakarta offering.


“Longer term, we’re really excited about Grab Financial Group,” a unit of the company, said Chris Conforti, partner at Altimeter Capital. “I think the bell curve on that is much wider in terms of what the outcome could be, but it could be extremely large.”

Grab was founded by Anthony Tan, its chief executive, and Tan Hooi Ling, who developed the firm from an idea for a Harvard Business School venture competition in 2011. The two Tans are not related.


CEO Tan, 39, expanded Grab into a regional operation with a range of services, after launching it as a taxi app in Malaysia in 2012.

It later moved its headquarters to Singapore.


“What we have shown to the world is that home grown tech companies can develop great technology that can compete globally, even when international players are in town,” Tan told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. “We can compete and win.”


He will end up with 60.4 percent voting rights along with Grab’s co-founder, and president Ming Maa, but control only 3.3 percent stake with them.


To mark the New York listing, Grab and Nasdaq will hold a bell-ringing in a luxury hotel in Singapore in the middle of the Asian night. About 250 people, including executives from the exchange, Grab’s investors and other partners are to attend.


Grab’s listing brings a payday bonanza to early backers such as Japan’s SoftBank and Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, which invested as early as 2014.


They were later joined by the likes of Toyota Motor Corp. , Microsoft Corp. and Japanese megabank MUFG .

Uber became a Grab shareholder in 2018 after selling its Southeast Asian business to Grab following a five-year battle.


In September, Grab cut its full-year adjusted net sales forecasts, citing renewed uncertainty over pandemic curbs on movement.


Third-quarter revenue fell 9 percent from a year earlier and its adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) widened 66 percent to $212 million.

GMV in the quarter rose to a record $4 billion.


It aims to turn profitable on an EBITDA basis in 2023.


JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley were the lead placement agents on the fundraising, while Evercore and UBS were the co-placement agents.


UAE and South Korea sign agreements in defense, hydrogen cooperation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, meets with President Moon Jae-in at Expo 2020 Dubai. (WAM)
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, meets with President Moon Jae-in at Expo 2020 Dubai. (WAM)
Updated 16 January 2022

UAE and South Korea sign agreements in defense, hydrogen cooperation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, meets with President Moon Jae-in at Expo 2020 Dubai. (WAM)
  • The UAE is the first leg of the South Korean president’s tour that includes stops in Saudi Arabia and Egypt

LONDON: The UAE and South Korea signed several agreements on Sunday during President Moon Jae-in’s official visit to the Emirates to attend the “Day of Korea” ceremony at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, praised relations between the two countries and their keenness to further boost bilateral ties in various areas, Emirates News Agency reported.
“The strategic partnership between the UAE and Korea provides many opportunities to enhance cooperation in various fields, including economy, trade, food security, health, culture, space, energy and tourism,” he said, adding the Emirates is South Korea’s top trade partner in the region.
The volume of non-oil trade between the two countries reached $4.8 billion in 2020.

“Prominent strategic projects such as the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant are proof of the depth of relations between the two friendly nations,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “We also appreciate the active participation of the South Korea pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.”
During the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the UAE's Ministry of Defense and South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration on medium and long-term cooperation in the fields of defense industries and technology.
UAE’s Tawazun Economic Council (Tawazun) signed an MoU with Korea’s LIG Nex1 Co. and two MoUs with Hanwha Systems Co.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed three agreements with a number of Korean entities, and they include a framework agreement between ADNOC and the Export-Import Bank of Korea.
A joint study agreement was signed between ADNOC, the Korea National Oil Corporation and SK Gas on hydrogen, and another agreement between ADNOC and KNOC on ammonia cargo.
“During the next phase, we plan to draw up plans to further expand cooperation in areas of common interest, as well as explore development opportunities in priority sectors,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Moon will meet Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday and the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Al-Hajraf on Wednesday, when he is expected to announce the resumption of Gulf free-trade talks. He will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Thursday, South Korean news agency Yonhap said.


Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009
Dubai skyline
Updated 16 January 2022

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate deals were worth approximately 151 billion dirhams ($41.1 billion) in 2021, their highest value since 2009.

The total number of deals last year reached 61,241, the largest number since 2013, according to Al Arabiya.

This value jumped by 110 percent compared to 2020, while the total number of deals increased over the course of 2021 by 74 percent compared to 2020.

Of these deals, ready made properties accounted for 60 percent of total real estate transactions in Dubai in 2021, while the rest was made up of off-plan properties.


Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 
Updated 16 January 2022

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

A Norwegian clean energy company Is working on what wiuld be the first private issuance of green bonds in Egypt. 

Norway's Scatec plans to issue around $340 million in green bonds, secured by its six solar energy plants in Benban complex that has a production capacity of 390 megawatts, Alarabiya reported citing banking sources. 

This comes amid Egypt’s boom in clean infrastructure projects during the last decade.  

 


China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 
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Updated 16 January 2022

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 
  • German gross domestic product rose by 2.7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020

Despite a rise in COVID-19 cases, China is planning to uplift consumption during the holiday season, the country’s National Development and Reform Commission said.

China will still maintain pandemic control, yet its effect would be mitigated through the fine-tuning of those regulations to each area, Bloomberg reported.

The commission also called on e-commerce vendors and online entertainment channels to introduce more sales promotions during the season.

South Korea Interest Rates

In a bid to combat inflation, the Bank of Korea decided to raise its interest by 0.25 percent to the pre-pandemic level of 1.25 percent.

The bank also signaled that further hikes would take place in the remainder of the year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The country’s annual inflation rate reached 3.7 percent in December, noticeably above the central bank’s target of 2 percent.

Inflation is set to remain above the 3 percent mark for a while and would average more than 2.5 percent for the full year, the bank’s governor, Lee Ju-yeol, said.

German GDP growth

German gross domestic product rose by 2.7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, according to first calculations by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).


“Economic development has been largely dependent on the infection rates of Covid-19 and associated preventive measures also in 2021,” said Dr. Georg Thiel, head of the Federal Statistical Office, at the press conference on the 2021 GDP in Wiesbaden. 

“Despite the continuing pandemic situation, more delivery bottlenecks and material shortages, the German economy has managed to recover from the sharp decline last year, even though the economic performance has not yet reached the pre-crisis level agai,” Thiel continued.

Moreover, GDP in 2021 was still 2.0 percent lower than it was in 2019 the year before COVID-19 started.

UK economy

Britain's economy grew 0.9 percent faster than expected in November, before the latest wave of coronavirus infections and restrictions on many businesses, and was 0.7 percent larger than it was in February 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.


“It's amazing to see the size of the economy back to pre-pandemic levels in November – a testament to the grit and determination of the British people,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said.


Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  
Updated 16 January 2022

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  
  • Compared to December 2020, SAMA's net foreign assets fell 2.4 percent

The government’s deposits with the Saudi Central Bank fell by SR74.7 billion ($19.9 billion) during December to reach SR538, preliminary data posted by SAMA revealed.

This change represents the biggest monthly drawdown of government deposits with SAMA since November 2016 when they fell by SR90.3 billion.

At the same time during December 2021, net foreign assets held by the Saudi Central Bank dropped by 2 percent from November to SR1.64 trillion, according to preliminary data.

Compared to December 2020, SAMA's net foreign assets fell 2.4 percent.

In addition, the Kingdom’s monetary base – which is the sum of currency outside banks, cash in vaults and bank deposits with SAMA – edged up by 0.5 percent in December on a month-on-month basis to reach SR356 billion.