BENGALURU (REUTERS) – South-east Asia’s largest ride-hailing and food delivery firm Grab Holdings on Thursday (Nov 11) reported a net loss of US$988 million (S$1.34 billion) for the July-September quarter, 59 per cent more than the year-ago loss of US$621 million.

Total revenue for the third quarter fell 9 per cent to US$157 million, from US$172 million a year earlier, as its ride-hailing business was hit by Covid-19 curbs in some countries in the region.

Fresh outbreaks in South-east Asia hit Grab’s mobility unit that fell behind its deliveries business, its largest by billings. Its mobility business brought in US$88 million in revenue, down 26 per cent from a year earlier, while sales at its deliveries unit rose 58 per cent.

“Mobility and food delivery services were suspended in Vietnam for most of Q3, and six of our core countries in which we operate experienced tighter movement controls,” said chief financial officer Peter Oey.

CEO Anthony Tan told an investor webcast that the company expects major recovery for the ride-hailing business in the fourth quarter, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, as vaccination rates increase in the region, the Nikkei Asia reported.

Grab’s gross merchandise value – the total value of transactions made through Grab’s platform – rose 32 per cent to a quarterly record of US$4 billion, due to expansion in its delivery and financial services.

The company’s adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation widened 66 per cent to US$212 million in the third quarter.

Including non-cash items, net loss came to US$988 million.

The non-cash items of US$748 million include US$443 million in interest expense from Grab’s convertible redeemable preference shares, which would cease upon listing. Another US$217 million came from stock-based compensation and fair-value losses on investments.

Singapore-based Grab announced in April it will go public via a record-setting merger with a special purpose acquisition company (Spac).

On Thursday, Grab said the planned merger with US-based Altimeter Growth Corp “continues to progress and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.”

The deal valued Grab at nearly US$40 billion and would enable the company to be listed on Nasdaq.

Founded in 2012 as a regional taxi app in Malaysia, Grab provides ride-hailing, food and grocery delivery, mobile banking and payments in over 400 cities in eight countries in South-east Asia.

• With additional information from The Straits Times