SoftBank-backed ride-hailing firm Grab announces layoffs

FILE PHOTO: People wait for the start of Grab’s fifth anniversary news conference in Singapore June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Southeast Asian ride-hailing and payments firm Grab announced hundreds of job losses on Tuesday due to the impact of novel coronavirus.

Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup with a valuation of $14 billion, the SoftBank-backed (9984.T) company informed staff of the move at a townhall, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Singapore-based Grab would cut just under 5% of its headcount, or about 360 employees, according to a note to employees from CEO Anthony Tan which was shared with Reuters.

Tan said the company, which is active in eight countries, did not face capitalisation issues and would be “sunsetting non-core projects, consolidating teams and pivoting to focus on deliveries”.

The ride-hailing industry has been battered by the pandemic, with firms from Uber (UBER.N), Lyft (LYFT.O) in the United States to India’s Ola cutting jobs and costs.

The impact in Southeast Asia has been severe, with 11 drivers for rival Gojek telling Reuters last week they had their income slashed by more than half during the pandemic.

Reporting by Fanny Potkin and Anshuman Daga; Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Stephen Coates

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