Rideshare company Grab said it has secured debt financing of up to US $ 700 million (S $ 952 million), the largest raised by a Southeast Asian start-up.
It also announced that it has signed an exclusive partnership with SMRT to build the region’s largest rental car fleet by the end of next year.
The $ 700 million borrowings, from global and regional banks, will be used to create the largest car rental program in Southeast Asia to meet strong demand from partner drivers in the region, Grab said. yesterday.
He said that with the new financing on hand, it will make more cars available for rental, provide more favorable rental terms and services to partner drivers, and increase the supply of vehicles on the road.
The number of Grab drivers in the region has nearly tripled since January to more than 1.8 million, which it says is Southeast Asia’s largest ground transport fleet.
Grab Chairman Ming Maa said, âThis record-breaking round of debt financing clearly demonstrates the great confidence in our business model and market leadership from many of the world’s largest banks. “
He said Grab, with over 72% market share in the region, plans to further consolidate its market lead through the largest car rental program in Southeast Asia.
Grab also said it will build Singapore’s largest and most advanced fleet of taxis and private hire cars, with exclusive access to SMRT’s entire Strides taxi and private hire car network.
He will also have exclusive access to SMRT’s current and future taxi and passenger car fleet management capabilities.
Strides is a subsidiary of SMRT which also offers premium limousine and bus services.
Market watchers pointed out that this is not the first time the two companies have tied the knot. Last year, SMRT partnered with Grab to launch Strides.
In March of this year, SMRT signed an agreement with Grab for its taxi drivers to use the Grab app exclusively for third party bookings. That month, SMRT was also one of five taxi operators here to partner with the rideshare company to offer fixed rates and dynamic pricing for its taxis.
It was also reported in April that the transport operator was in talks to sell its taxi business to Grab. But the deal would have hit a roadblock, as SMRT wanted the affected workers to keep their jobs, but the start-up was unwilling to take on the additional staff.
When contacted, SMRT declined to give details of the latest tie-up with Grab.