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Singaporean superapp Grab backed down on its earnings projections for 2021, citing the unpredictability of COVID and continued government lockdowns across Southeast Asia as a reason to dampen its enthusiasm about future financial performance.

Grab bought Uber’s Singapore operations and has since expanded into e-commerce, payments and financial services. In its second quarter 2021 earnings announcement, the company announced that its forecasted post-sale merchandise value in 2021 – a measure of all revenue it moves rather than actual revenue – is now expected to be between 15 and $ 15.5 billion, compared to $ 16. 0.7 billion expected in April.

The adjusted net sales forecast for 2021 were also reduced, from $ 2.3 billion to between $ 2.1 and $ 2.2 billion. Adjusted EBITDA was reset to a range of -900 million dollars to -700 million dollars instead of -600 million US dollars. Meanwhile, the net loss fell from US $ 718 million in 2020 to US $ 815 million.

“To give you more context on the COVID situation here in Southeast Asia – the Delta variant has hit the region hard,” said Anthony Tan, CEO of Grab, during the call for Q2 results. the company, reminding its audience that lockdowns are still in place in major cities. In the region.

“The lockdowns may have impacted our mobility and fintech business in the near term, but we pivoted quickly and doubled our efforts to serve our communities through the deliveries segment,” Tan continued.

Executives told investors that Grab’s diversification into payments and financial services has proven crucial to its survival and the source of the company’s success since the start of the pandemic.

As closures occurred in a country, food deliveries increased and as that country reopened, food delivery declined and mobility services rebounded. And when one country locks down, another will reopen, changing its areas of profitability.

“What we’ve also seen in countries emerging from lockdowns is that ridesharing bounces faster,” said CFO Peter Oey, adding that ridesharing bounced faster than private cars and public taxis for the The company’s home country, Singapore, a city-state where vaccination rates have exceeded 80 percent but government restrictions remain in place.

“Our Deliveries segment continues to outperform, offsetting the weakness we are seeing in our Mobility segment due to ongoing movement restrictions,” said Oey.

A bright spot for Grab this quarter was its lending activity, which reached an all-time high, growing 4.1x year-on-year compared to the first quarter of 2021.

Tan and executive Ming Maa described the diversification of offerings and cross-selling as Grab’s “secret sauce”.

“The more services our users deal with on Grab, the more loyal they become, as measured by our MTU retention rates,” said Maa.

“As the platform becomes more relevant to daily life in Southeast Asia, we have seen user spending increase 27% year over year,” Tan said.

The company plans to go public in the United States this year through a controversial $ 39.6 billion merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Oey said the data-consuming mega-app filed an amended registration statement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the merger the day before the call.

“We remain on track to become a publicly traded company and complete our merger with Altimeter Growth Corp by the fourth quarter of this year,” said Oey. ®

Troy M. Hoffman