Business World

Grab: Singapore-based ride-hailing and payments app falls in $40 billion market debut

Singapore-based ride-hailing and payments app, Grab made its stock market debut on New York’s Nasdaq trading platform.

Shares initially rose before falling sharply.

The share sale valued Grab at more than $40 billion making it the largest ever US listing by a South East Asian firm.

Instead of a conventional share sale, Grab went public using a shell company designed to make the process cheaper.

Using a special purpose acquisition company has become an increasingly popular strategy with start-ups, as it offers more flexibility around voting rights, as well as lower costs.

Minutes into their market debut, the shares rose by 21%, but ended the day more than 20% below their launch value.

Grab’s business is growing, but the firm is yet to make a profit and it doesn’t expect to do so until 2023.

“Grab needs to demonstrate to investors its growth potential,” said Professor Howard Yu of IMD Business school.

“This is why Grab is trying hard to enter finance because that is one sector really high in terms of profitability.”

Grab’s existing investors include Japan’s Softbank, China’s Didi and Uber.

The flotation is being seen as a test for South East Asian financial technology and could encourage other start-ups in the region to follow suit.