Ride-hailing giant Grab posts first profitable quarter, announces $500 million share buyback

A attendee walks previous a banner with a Grab emblem earlier than a bell-ringing ceremony as Grab begins buying and selling on the Nasdaq, in Singapore, on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.

Ore Huiying | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Grab posted its first-ever worthwhile quarter, raking in $11 million in revenue, the Southeast Asian ride-hailing large mentioned in its fourth-quarter earnings report Thursday.

This compares with a $391 million loss recorded in the identical interval a yr in the past. The increase was “primarily due to the improvement in Group adjusted EBITDA, fair value changes in investments, and lowered share-based compensation expenses,” the corporate mentioned.

Revenue for the quarter hit $653 million, exceeding LSEG analysts’ estimates of $634.86 million.

Losses for full yr 2023 got here to $485 million, down 72% from $1.74 billion a yr in the past.

In addition to ride-hailing, the corporate additionally offers monetary providers like funds and insurance coverage, in addition to deliveries for meals, groceries and packages.

“We exited [2023 with] mobility exceeding pre-Covid levels. We are seeing a very strong demand in the mobility space,” Grab CFO Peter Oey advised CNBC in an unique interview on Friday, including that tourism is “growing very much.”

“If you look at the deliveries business, we have another record 13% year-over-year growth. We have now more users on our platform also at the same time. So we have really strong momentum,” he mentioned on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

Grab introduced Thursday it will be repurchasing as much as $500 million value of sophistication A extraordinary shares for the primary time.

Grab was largely unprofitable throughout its years of operation, having amassed billions of {dollars} in losses since its inception in 2012.

In the preliminary years of enterprise, tech startups are likely to prioritize development over profitability, which often means burning numerous money. But with international macro uncertainties slowing development, they’ve been compelled to resume their deal with profitability and be extra prudent with prices.

During the fourth quarter, complete incentives — which embrace companion and shopper incentives — had been additional lowered to 7.3% of complete worth of products offered, Grab mentioned in its report. That’s in comparison with 8.2% in the identical interval a yr in the past “as we continued to improve the health of our marketplace.”

Grab had been doling out incentives to draw drivers and passengers to its platform however that is tapering now as the corporate strikes to drive up profitability.

On whether or not Grab would attain a time the place it would not have to incentivize folks to remain on the platform, Oey mentioned incentives will “always be a lever” for the enterprise.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a world where there’s no incentive whatsoever,” he advised CNBC, including that incentives assist “to make sure we have enough supply” of drivers and appeal to price-sensitive prospects.

For 2024, Grab expects income to come back in between $2.70 billion and $2.75 billion, decrease than LSEG analysts’ consensus of $2.8 billion.

Grab’s shares closed 8.41% decrease on Thursday. Its share value has plummeted 75.8% from its $13.06 opening value in December 2021, when the agency first listed on the Nasdaq.