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Southeast Asia ride-hailing service Grab says open to more acquisitions
May 12, 2017 / 6:12 AM / 3 months ago

Southeast Asia ride-hailing service Grab says open to more acquisitions

Commuters pass Grab transport booking service app advertisements at a train station in Singapore February 10, 2016.Edgar Su/File Photo

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Singapore-headquartered Grab is open to further acquisitions after buying an Indonesian online payments startup, one of the co-founders of the Southeast Asia-focused ride hailing service said.

Grab, which competes aggressively with U.S.-based Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] in the region, sees its future in mobile payments as much as in transport, and acquired Indonesia's Kudo last month. The company did not say how much it paid, but Reuters had earlier reported that it had expected to pay $100 million.

"We're always on the lookout, whether it's for public partners, private partners, inorganic partnership and growth or organic growth," Hoo Ling Tan, told Reuters in Phnom Penh on Thursday.

"Anything that will get us to the dominant position of the number one mobile wallet payments system in Southeast Asia."

The number of users of its GrabPay service had doubled over the past eight weeks, Tan said, without giving actual numbers. She saw the market size for payments in Southeast Asia as $500 billion a year, compared to $25 billion for transport.

That made it just as important for Grab as transport said Tan, who co-founded Grab with fellow Harvard Business School graduate Anthony Tan five years ago.

Grab did not immediately need to seek funds immediately for expansion, Tan said, adding that the company had raised $1.45 billion to date. "We still have a lot of it left," she said.

Last month, Singapore's Straits Times reported that public transport operator SMRT Corp was in talks to sell Grab its taxi business, which according to its website has a fleet of more than 3,500 cars. (bit.ly/2pRiQOW)

Tan called the report speculation, but added that Grab was "constantly on the lookout for good partners". Grab's app allows users to summon taxis, private cars and motorbikes.

Over the last six months, the number of daily rides on Grab had more than doubled to 2.3 million rides a day, Tan said. It has no plans for expansion beyond Southeast Asia.

Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in SINGAPORE; Editing by Miral Fahmy

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