Grab lands US$1.46b in fresh funds, raising coffers to US$8b

The Singapore-based firm continues to see strong interest from global investors after securing nearly US$1.5 billion from the Vision Fund in a year-long round. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore-headquartered app giant Grab Holdings has secured US$1.46 billion of fresh funding from the Softbank Vision Fund, a subsidiary of Japan's Softbank.

It comes during the company's latest round of Series H funding, with investors such as Toyota Motor, Oppenheimer Funds, Hyundai Motor, Booking Holdings, Microsoft Corp, Ping An Capital and Yamaha Motor together contributing US$4.5 billion.

In total, Grab has raised over US$8 billion since it was formed in June 2012. Earlier investors include Honda Motor and Vertex Ventures, the venture arm of Singapore's state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings.

Mr Anthony Tan, Grab's co-founder and chief executive, said: "SoftBank and the Vision Fund are longstanding strategic investors and we are grateful for their continued support.

"The investment is a clear statement of belief in our vision to grow South-east Asia's technology ecosystem as the region's No 1 super app."

Grab's other co-founder Ms Tan Hooi Ling said on Wednesday (March 6) that the company will make use of the investments to expand and diversify to serve the 138 million people across South-east Asia who have downloaded its app.

Ms Tan said new ventures being launched or expanded upon this year will include financial services, food delivery, parcel delivery, news content, and digital payments.

Using Grab's open platform, GrabPlatform, services such as on-demand video, healthcare, insurance, as well as travel and hotel bookings will be offered "some time this year".

It is also entering the multi-billion-dollar money remittance business.

Grab said it plans to invest "a significant portion of fresh proceeds" in Indonesia, where it is going head-to-head with homegrown app firm Gojek.

Grab claims it has 60 per cent of the two-wheel market and 70 per cent of the four-wheel market there.

GrabFood is now operating in 178 Indonesian cities, up from 13 at the start of last year (18).

It has also launched an indirect financing business there called Kitchen, where Grab will set up a new shop for a business which wants to expand but does not have the resources to do so. In return, the business will share its revenue with Grab.

In Singapore, Grab said it will expand its GrabShare service - where two or more commuters share a chauffeured car - to include bigger vehicles, ranging from six-seaters compact minivans to 13-seater mini-buses. Ms Tan said this aims to fill gaps in the transport fare spectrum which ranges "from $1 to $15" per trip.

Ms Tan said there are "pockets of profitability" within the group - such as transport in certain markets - but maintained that on the whole, Grab is still in the red.

"We're not aiming for profitability any time soon," she said, referring to the new businesses.

Neither is Grab aiming for an initial public offering to raise funds any time soon.

"We're in no shortage of funding," she said.

With more than US$8 billion to its name, Grab's valuation is larger than the average capitalisation of companies listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

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