SE Asia's Grab offers staff no-pay leave as coronavirus saps demand

SINGAPORE, April 30 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab said on Thursday it is offering some staff unpaid leave and senior executives are taking salary cuts as it moves to conserve cash amid falling demand because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“Senior Grab leaders are reducing salaries by up to 20% this year and we have given employees across the region, in teams where there is excess capacity - the option to take flexible working arrangements,” Grab, the region’s most valuable start-up, said in a statement.

It said such arrangements could include no-pay leave, reduced working hours and sabbaticals.

Grab said the steps would allow it to assess the impact of the coronavirus and “flexibly adjust up or down our resource needs”.

This month, Grab’s CEO, Anthony Tan, said the pandemic was the single biggest crisis to affect the eight-year-old company, with volumes in its key ride-hailing business down by double-digit percentages in some countries.

In February, Grab, which is backed by SoftBank Group Corp , said it raised $856 million from Japanese investors. It has grown beyond its ride-hailing roots into food delivery and financial services. (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan Editing by Robert Birsel)