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Grab’s Expansion Plans Hit Regulatory Roadblock in Singapore

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Singapore’s competition watchdog has pumped the brakes on ride-hailing giant Grab’s plan to acquire Trans-cab.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) announced Monday (Oct. 16) it had concerns about the proposed deal, which would see Grab take ownership of the city-state’s third largest cab company.

“Third-party feedback received by CCCS suggests concerns on the effect of Grab’s ownership of the Trans-cab fleet on Trans-cab drivers’ usage of rival ride-hail platforms, which may raise barriers to expansion and entry for Grab’s rival ride-hail platforms,” the CCCS said.

The commission said in a news release it needed to examine in greater detail how the proposed deal will affect competition, and added that both Grab and Trans-cab can “offer commitments to address the potential competition concerns.”

PYMNTS has contacted Grab for comment but has not yet received a reply.

The CCCS announced in August it would examine the deal, which — if approved — would give Grab access to around 2,200 cabs and more than 300 private-hire vehicles, along with Trans-Cab’s vehicle workshop and fuel pump operations.

As noted here at the time, the CCCS study involved examining the recent consolidation of the taxi industry on consumers, and comparing it to the impact of Grab’s previous acquisition of Uber’s regional business on fares, waiting times, and the incomes of taxi drivers and driver-hirers.

Grab already commands up to 75 percent of the ride-hailing market in Singapore, the CCCS has said.

Last month saw Grab’s shares dip following an announcement by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore of a review of the ride-hailing and taxi industries.

As PYMNTS reported, the LTA is reviewing Singapore’s Point-to-Point (P2P) industry structure and regulatory framework to make sure it remains relevant and adaptable.

Grab announced in August that it had expanded its marketplace of drivers, riders and small businesses by launching “affordability initiatives” and bolstering engagement through its flagship subscription program.

“More people are using Grab now than ever before,” CEO Anthony Tan said at the time.

During an earnings call, the company said its second-quarter mobility GMV revenues for its ride-hailing business saw double-digit growth, with the average frequency per user increasing 12% year over year.

“When we compare mobility GMV levels between second quarter 2023 and the same period in 2019, several of our core markets such as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have either reached or surpassed these levels,” Grab COO Alex Hungate said on the call.