Grab Shares Fluctuated After NASDAQ Debut; Opening Bell Ceremony Held in SG

Grab celebrated their NASDAQ listing, the biggest yet by a Southeast Asian company, during NASDAQ's first-ever opening bell ceremony held in Singapore.

Grab co-founders Tan Hooi Ling (left) and Anthony Tan (right), along with representatives of the Grab driver-, delivery-, and merchant-partner communities (behind), during NASDAQ's first-ever bell opening bell ceremony in Singapore. Credit: Grab

The Singapore-based company was finally listed on NASDAQ after a successful US$40 billion merger with Altimeter Growth Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The merger, which was dubbed as the biggest blank-check company deal ever, was agreed upon in April 2021.


The opening bell ceremony was held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. Grab's co-founders, Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling, rang the opening bell at around 10:30 p.m. and were joined by Grab employees and its driver, delivery and merchant partners.


Tan said they chose to celebrate Grab's market debut in Singapore because of its partners and Grabbers.

Grab started as a single-country taxi-hailing app in Malaysia in 2012 as MyTeksi taxi booking service. The company has since expanded to the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, operating a super-app that allows consumers to deliver items, groceries, and food to their doorstep. / Credit: Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

"It's important to us not to lose sight of what this was built on," Tan said. "The heart and hard work of our Grabbers to serve our partners, and in turn, the dedication of our partners towards serving their customers. That's why we chose to hold the ceremony close to home."


However, the company's shares offered a contrast that might have provided a damper on the co-founders' mood; Channel News Asia reported that the shares rose as much as 21 per cent on its debut before retreating to close 23 per cent lower at US$8.51 by 2:34 a.m. Singapore time on 3 December 2021. Bloomberg, meanwhile, said that the company's shares fell sharply by 21 per cent to close at US$8.67 at 1:30 p.m. in New York.


Tan said before the company started trading its shares that the price makes no difference to him and that he would celebrate the debut first and return to work the day after.

Professor Lawrence Loh from the National University of Singapore Business School said that Grab's NASDAQ listing would allow the company to grow and give an even greater suite of offerings for consumers, such as digital banking. However, he warned that the listing comes with two key tensions - price pressure from competitors and profit pressure from shareholders.


"Grab will have to delicately balance its market share building strategy with the newly escalated challenge of showing profitability," Professor Loh said.


When asked about what Grab would invest in the next decade, Tan said that it would be mapping as it is a very local technology that would give Grab an edge versus other partners. The company would be investing in improving the efficiency of grocery delivery for its partners and all consumers next.

Credit: Grab

Tan also added that the company is looking to invest in digital banking and its financial services, whether it is Grab's e-wallet, GrabPay, lending or "buy now, pay later".


Tan may have hinted that Grab won't be expanding outside of Southeast Asia due to the potential opportunity and growth in the region.


"We say internally, 'Why do we want to go out when everyone's trying to come to Southeast Asia?' The penetration rate [of digital services] is still very early," Tan said. "If we can build the most efficient, lowest cost, on-demand delivery network across all Southeast Asia, that will help a lot of [micro, small, medium enterprises] rise."

 

Written by John Paul Joaquin

 

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