It’s been a rough time for growth stocks this past year, and Grab Holdings (NASDAQ: GRAB) has not escaped the carnage.
The high-profile ride-hailing cum food delivery company’s share price has skidded nearly 70% since it went public via a combination with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in early December last year.
Grab’s super app offers a variety of services but the company continues to struggle to turn a profit.
The digital services company released its 2022’s second quarter (2Q2022) earnings recently and disclosed that it was also going into advertising (GrabAds) and mapping and location-based services (GrabMaps).
With so much going on, could shares of the company be poised for a rebound?
A mixed set of financials
2Q2022 saw Grab’s revenue surge 79% year on year to US$321 million as the company enjoyed broad-based revenue growth across all its divisions.
Its Deliveries segment saw revenue soar nearly three-fold year on year from US$45 million to US$134 million due to contributions from Jaya Grocer, a mass-premium supermarket chain in Malaysia, that Grab acquired a majority stake in January this year.
For its Mobility division, revenue rose 37% year on year to US$161 million in line with a surge in domestic and international travel and easing restrictions for offices and leisure commutes.
Together, both divisions make up close to 92% of Grab’s total revenue.
However, Grab continued to report losses for the quarter, though the loss had reduced by 29% year on year from US$801 million to US$572 million.
It didn’t help that the ride-hailing company continued to burn cash.
The first half of 2022 (1H2022) saw negative free cash flow (FCF) of US$744 million, more than double the US$325 million negative FCF in the prior year.
Improved operating metrics
Although Grab’s financial numbers were weak, it managed to report encouraging operating statistics.
Gross merchandise value (GMV) for the company rose 30% year on year to US$5.1 billion.
Monthly transacting users (MTUs) increased by 12% year on year to 32.6 million, and around a third of these MTUs used three or more offerings in 2Q2022.
The Deliveries division saw GMV rise 19% year on year to US$2.5 billion while the Mobility segment’s GMV jumped 51% year on year to US$1 billion.
Grab’s Financial Services division saw total payments volume (TPV) climb 31% year on year to US$3.8 billion as loan disbursements grew and more users took up the division’s Buy Now, Pay Later products.
Fingers in (too) many pies
While it seems that Grab is gaining traction in growing its GMV and TPV, investors are increasingly focusing more on profitability than a “growth at all costs” model.
CFO Peter Oey is cognisant of this and has commented that management is accelerating Grab’s efforts to become profitable.
The problem is that the company seems to have its fingers in too many pies.
Mobility and food deliveries are both capital and manpower intensive, and both divisions have thus far not managed to break even.
There was also recent news that Grab’s competitor in Singapore, Foodpanda, had laid off around 5% of its staff to stay competitive.
Grab’s food delivery division could come under further pressure as demand tapers off when more people dine out in tandem with easing restrictions.
The company also has to shift capital to its Singapore digital bank initiative and has plans to also launch GXS Bank in Malaysia as a consortium comprising Malaysian investors, Singtel and Grab had clinched the Malaysian digital banking licences in April.
Aside from hiring new roles for GXS Bank, Grab is also dabbling in advertisements and location-mapping services.
Get Smart: Profitability seems elusive for now
Grab is intent on developing a regional super-app that encompasses a wide variety of useful services.
However, with its attention spread out over so many strategic initiatives, investors can expect profitability to be elusive for now.
Unless the company can demonstrate that its scale and improved operating numbers can translate into profitability, investors may be in for a long wait.
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Disclaimer: Royston Yang does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.