When Southeast Asian ride-hailing and delivery company Grab Holdings (NASDAQ:GRAB) completed a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth Corp. in early December it made history as the largest company to go public via a SPAC merger. Yet, this didn’t stop GRAB stock from plummeting more than 20% on the day of the merger.
Since then, investors have continued to give GRAB stock the cold shoulder, with shares falling another 16% to trade at $7.34 at the time of this writing.
Now, before you write off an investment in Grab Holdings, consider that the company is still in the early innings and let’s consider where GRAB stock could go from here.
What’s Behind Grab’s Cool Reception?
Grab is the largest ride-hailing and delivery company in Southeast Asia, with operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and serving more than 187 million users.
There are a number of plausible explanations for why GRAB stock has not been well-received by investors.
For starters, growth estimates for the Southeast Asian region have been lowered recently primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic. In September, the Asian Development Bank dropped its 2021 growth forecast for the region to 3.1% from 4.4% previously.
Widespread lockdowns in the region due to recurring waves of COVID-19 have hurt demand for Grab’s ride-hailing services and weighed on revenue despite an increase in food-delivery volumes.
Grab reported its third-quarter results on Nov. 11. Revenue fell 9% year over year to $157 million, with the company citing “a decline in mobility due to the severe lockdowns in Vietnam.” Falling revenue is obviously not something investors want to see, especially from a company that has yet to turn a profit.
Yet, the company did report a 32% year-over-year increase in gross merchandise value, with the dollar value of transactions from Grab’s services rising to $4.04 billion thanks to strength in the company’s deliveries segment.
There’s Reason for Optimism
The deal to go public through the merger with Altimeter Growth Corp. valued Grab at close to $40 billion, which as I mentioned, was a record. The fact that three weeks later GRAB stock has a market cap of about $27.5 billion tells us that perhaps things got a bit too heated. However, there is reason for optimism.
Grab Holdings also has some positive catalysts on the horizon. For example, the company recently announced that it will be purchasing Jaya Grocer, a premium supermarket chain in Malaysia.
This acquisition fits nicely with the ride-hailing and delivery business model the company seeks to expand. Management refers to the model as a “superapp” focus, whereby users can access multiple services in a single, convenient location.
The Bottom Line on GRAB Stock
I can’t say Grab Holdings can immediately turn things around. But its potential in the burgeoning Southeast Asian market means it remains relevant and has a long runway.
Of the six analysts following GRAB stock, two rate it a “buy” and there are no “sell” ratings, according to The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the consensus price target stands at $12.25, which represents upside of 67% from current levels.
GRAB stock is very cheap now, so it’s hardly a dangerous speculative play. There’s a good argument to be made for investing now and hoping that the company continues to expand its footprint. Profitability should follow.
On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Alex Sirois is a freelance contributor to InvestorPlace whose personal stock investing style is focused on long-term, buy-and-hold, wealth-building stock picks. Having worked in several industries from e-commerce to translation to education and utilizing his MBA from George Washington University, he brings a diverse set of skills through which he filters his writing.