(Reuters) – Grab Holdings Ltd, Southeast Asia’s No. 1 ride-hailing and food delivery firm, on Thursday forecast a rebound in its rideshare and food delivery businesses as economies recover from a pandemic-led slump, sending its U.S.-listed shares surging 32%.
The company’s rideshare business, which suffered from pandemic-led restrictions in several markets, is seeing a recovery as offices reopen.
“Our business will continue to strengthen as more countries pivot to living with Covid-19,” Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tan said, adding the first-quarter results showed the “resilience of Southeast Asia’s economy as we move past the worst of the pandemic restrictions.”
Singapore-based Grab, which operates in eight Southeast Asian countries, said it plans to enter new markets in underpenetrated cities and towns as consumers continue to order online. Grab expects its delivery segment’s adjusted core earnings to breakeven by the end of 2023.
The company has added 220,000 monthly active drivers since last year, when it started paying incentives to attract drivers to meet growing demand. Grab now sees driver availability stabilizing in the second half of the year, and incentives to taper down.
“The mobility business is coming back very strongly. It has been one of the brightest spots coming out of the first quarter,” Chief Financial officer Peter Oey said in an interview to Reuters.
Angus Mackintosh, an analyst at CrossASEAN Research said the rebound was “promising” and that Grab’s move to reduce spends on incentives worked well to improve unit economics.
Grab expects second-quarter gross merchandise value (GMV), a measure of transaction volume, for the delivery segment to be between $2.55 billion and $2.65 billion, and $950 million to $1 billion for the mobility unit.
GMV for the two units was $2.56 billion and $834 million, respectively, in the first quarter.
For the year, Grab expects GMV to grow between 30% and 35%.
(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Vinay Dwivedi)