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Grab partially delivers the goods ahead of SPAC

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Grab's CEO Anthony Tan speaks during Grab's fifth anniversary news conference in Singapore June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su - RC169CEFCF30

HONG KONG, Aug 3 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Southeast Asian super-app Grab has given investors a preview of its life as a public company. The Singapore-based firm announced that adjusted net sales rose 39% year-on-year to a record high of $507 million in the three months ended March. That’s just shy of a quarter of the $2.3 billion the company forecasts it will make for the entire year. It highlighted some bright spots: Grab’s net loss fell 15% to $652 million, while its adjusted EBITDA loss also narrowed. Adjusted net sales for deliveries, making up more than half of the group’s total, also nearly doubled to $293 million.

Boss Anthony Tan is not completely in the clear, however. Many of the countries in which Grab operates are in still in lockdown, which is bad for the ride-hailing side of the company’s business. Worryingly, monthly transacting users fell 20% for the quarter, although spend per user increased 31%.

Grab expects to start trading in the fourth quarter of this year. Its debut will be a reflection whether investors believe Grab can deliver growth in other areas too. (By Sharon Lam)

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Editing by Pete Sweeney and Katrina Hamlin

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