Grab targets US$2b more in funding this year in big business push

"We expect to raise US$6.5 billion of total capital this year," Grab CEO Anthony Tan said in an interview. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Grab aims to raise another US$2 billion (S$2.71 billion) this year as it ramps up expansion, its chief executive said, just weeks after announcing over US$4.5 billion of funding in what has become South-east Asia's largest round of private financing.

"We expect to raise US$6.5 billion of total capital this year," Anthony Tan said on Monday (April 8) in an interview, in which he laid out Grab's strategy to become an app-for-everything in South-east Asia - home to about 650 million people.

Grab later said in a statement that it expects to invest a significant portion of the funds in Indonesia. Reuters first reported the funding target earlier on Monday.

"We basically received a very strong vote of confidence. And Masa shared that SoftBank is very happy with Grab and that SoftBank will provide unlimited support to power our growth," said Tan, referring to SoftBank Group Corp founder and CEO Masayoshi Son.

SoftBank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The funding will be raised from strategic investors and be a mix of debt and equity, said Tan.

Grab's massive financing round started shortly after the firm bought the South-east Asian operations of US peer Uber Technologies Inc in March last year.

Singapore-headquartered Grab is expanding aggressively in Indonesia, home of rival Go-Jek. Both are raising billions of dollars to bring ride-hailing, food delivery, e-commerce and banking to a populous region with a growing number of consumers that use smartphones to commute, shop and make payments.

Both Grab and Go-Jek started out in ride-hailing and have since amassed millions of users with cut-rate prices. Go-Jek's backers include Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alphabet Inc's Google.

Last month, Grab's president Ming Maa - a former SoftBank executive - said Grab was considering raising more funds in the ongoing financing round, in which the SoftBank Vision Fund invested US$1.5 billion.

On Monday, Tan said, "We have done a lot with SoftBank's portfolio companies, both technical and operational expertise, and of course capital support as well."

"That will help us grow very aggressively this year across our verticals - transport, mobility, food and payments," he said, referring to SoftBank's support.

Tan said Grab is looking to make at least six investments or acquisitions this year.

"With the amount of funding we have raised, and the support from strategic investors like SoftBank, we are so well-funded to execute on our expansion and investment plans, so there is really no need to IPO," said Tan, who co-founded Grab with Harvard classmate Tan Hooi Ling.

Grab's other backers include Toyota Motor Corp, Microsoft Corp and Hyundai Motor Co.

People with direct knowledge of the matter said Grab has raised about US$8 billion since its launch almost 7 years ago.

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