(Singapore Nov 18, 2022)Grab is planning to buy over Prime Taxi, Singapore’s smallest cab operator, according to a Straits Times report.

The report says that Grab has already made an offer, but the deal is not yet sealed.

Prime Taxi has a fleet size of under 520 vehicles with a higher percentage of premium cars, such as the Toyota Alphard and environmentally friendlier hybrid models.

Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of diversified motor group Prime, which owns Prime Taxi, said that since its cab business started in 2007, it had amassed retained profits of more than $50 million, or an average of $3.3 million a year. This excludes the group’s private-hire business, the ST report said.

Mr Neo declined to comment on Grab’s offer, but admitted that he is looking to sell his taxi and private-hire businesses “if there is an offer which I cannot refuse”, the report said.

“We are looking to move away from the asset-heavy transport business to focus more on financial services,” he said as quoted by Straits Times.

Acquiring Prime will allow Grab instant access to the street-hail business, which it does not have. It will also bolster its limousine service, which is facing competition from traditional service providers as well as newcomer Strides, the ST report said.

Grab is still loss-making. It said recently that it expects to break even at the operating level by 2024.