Grab shares surge most in 6 months after unveiling post-pandemic gains

Grab's revenue increased to US$228 million (S$315 million) in the first quarter. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - US-listed shares of Grab Holdings climbed more than 24 per cent on Thursday (May 19) after the company reported a better-than-expected 6 per cent revenue rise as the Covid-19 pandemic receded across South-east Asia.

Revenue increased to US$228 million (S$315 million) in the first quarter after the ride-hailing and delivery giant added sales from Jaya Grocer, a platform it acquired in January. It was more than the US$139.2 million analysts were expecting.

Grab's net loss narrowed to US$435 million, as the company fights to gain profitability following years of heavy spending in pursuit of market share.

The company managed to grow monthly users by 10 per cent to 30.9 million after South-east Asian countries removed pandemic-era restrictions. Per-user spending climbed 19 per cent, it said. Unlike other Internet companies that were grappling with cooling post-Covid-19 online activity, Grab's car-hailing and delivery businesses benefited as life returned to normal.

The company had struggled since becoming a publicly listed company in the United States through a merger with a blank-cheque company in December. Mounting losses, coupled with a broad technology sell-off, have weighed on its shares.

On Thursday, Grab rose 24.1 per cent, its biggest gain since November.

"Grab appears on track for robust sales growth amid the mobility segment's recovery from pandemic effects and strong momentum across deliveries and financial services, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Nathan Naidu.

He added: "Ride bookings are poised for a comeback as South-east Asia's social restrictions ease further and though the unit suffered a drop in first-quarter sales, it fuelled about 50 per cent of total revenue.

"Online food and grocery delivery's user expansion and rising scale economies should also support sales, particularly with the inclusion of the newly acquired Jaya Grocer in Malaysia."

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