Grab hints at Southeast Asia's economic pain | Reuters

A Grab mototaxi drives on a street in Hanoi, Vietnam October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Kham – RC1F7F631E20

HONG KONG, Sept 14 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Southeast Asia’s pandemic reality may be finally catching up to Grab. The company, whose merger with a blank-cheque company is expected to close in the fourth quarter, pared back read more its full-year forecasts, with adjusted net sales now expected to be $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion, down from the $2.3 billion projected in April. It also cut its gross merchandise value projections. Management warned of lockdown extensions in the countries where Grab operates, as well as Covid-19-induced curbs on movement.

The dampened outlook belies some areas of strength. Second-quarter adjusted net sales rose 92% year-on-year overall to $550 million, with deliveries up 68%. Grab is also gaining traction with its registered GrabFood merchants, which more than doubled, and GrabPay merchants, which nearly tripled. But vaccination rates across the region are still low. Investors will be hoping that Grab’s new initiatives can offset the increasing pain of an unpredictable year. (By Sharon Lam)

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Editing by Antony Currie and Katrina Hamlin

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