Grab exploring spin-off in financial services

Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab has mandated a few banks to approach potential investors to take minority stakes in its financial services business as it looks to spin off the unit, according to two people familiar with the matter.

It has adopted an aggressive strategy to expand its range of services from transport to food delivery and payments as it races against Indonesia's Go-Jek to become an app-for-everything in South-east Asia, home to about 650 million people.

One of the sources said banks and insurance companies are among potential investors in Grab's financial services business, adding that the plan is in an early stage.

The source, who declined to be identified, said Grab was looking to raise less than US$500 million (S$681 million) through its spin-off. "This is more about getting in strategic investors than just raising funds," said the source. "Grab is still keen to keep control of the unit."

The Financial Times said yesterday that Grab is considering spinning off its payments and financial services businesses .

A Grab spokesman declined to comment on the potential spin-off but said the company always evaluated the capital structure of its businesses.

The latest move comes just months after the firm, South-east Asia's most-funded start-up, announced it had raised more than US$4.5 billion in a year-long funding exercise in the region's largest private financing round.

Grab, backed by SoftBank, said last month it was seeking to raise another US$2 billion this year.

It is pushing deeper into consumer credit and is expanding lending to small businesses as part of its big expansion into the financial services sector, an area it has earmarked for growth.

Both Grab and Go-Jek started out as ride service players and have rapidly amassed millions of users with cut-rate prices in low-income countries.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2019, with the headline 'Grab exploring spin-off in financial services'. Print Edition | Subscribe