Grab’s shares tumbled and lost almost a quarter of their value on their first day of trading in New York.
Grab’s shares rose minutes after the listing before retreating to trade 23% lower at $8.51 by 1834 GMT.
Grab’s co-founders Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling rang the opening bell at about 10.30 pm at a ceremony held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore.
Representatives from the driver, delivery and merchant-partner communities joined both founders on stage.
More than 200 people attended Thursday’s event. These included executives from Nasdaq, as well as Grab’s investors and employees. It is Nasdaq’s “first-ever opening bell ceremony” hosted in Southeast Asia.
Mr Anthony Tan delivered a speech at the start of the bell ringing ceremony. “Today we shine a spotlight on Southeast Asia, and how its homegrown tech companies are powering new possibilities for the region’s 660 million people”, he said.
He added: “From a single-country, taxi-hailing app. Grab is now a leading super app, enabling consumers to eat, ride and pay in eight countries and over 400 cities.
“None of this would have been possible without the dedication and grit of Grabbers. As well as the support of our consumers, investors, business- and government partners.”
Grab’s tumble is no surprise for industry experts
Minutes after the speech the shares began to retreat. Eventually, Grab lost close to a quarter of its value. This retreat is a blow to Grab’s initial jubilance.
“The price makes no difference to me. I’m going to celebrate tonight and get back to work tomorrow,” Grab Chief Executive, Anthony Tan told Reuters.
Some industry experts were not surprised.
SPACs have been touted as the new driving force of capital markets. However, fundraising and deal-making have recently begun to slow down from a heady pace due to increasing scrutiny from regulators.
In fact, regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US and Hong Kong have expressed concerns over such investment vehicles. They’ve both warned retail investors on the importance of being cognizant of potential risks before jumping on the bandwagon.
Grab’s been losing money since its founding in 2012. It has accumulated losses of $11.9 billion as of June 2021, according to its prospectus.
The company recently reported a third-quarter net loss of close to a billion USD. Grab’s revenue fell 9% year over year to $157 million. It cited COVID-19-related lockdowns had affected its ride-hailing, or mobility, business. It also said the number of its monthly users was down 8% year over year because those lockdowns.