ComfortDelGro, Singapore’s largest taxi operator, and ride-hailing giant Uber have mutually agreed to dissolve a deal that involved the former buying 51 per cent of the latter’s car rental unit in Singapore.
Both companies entered into the agreement in December last year, with ComfortDelGro agreeing to pay S$295 million ($220 million) for the stake in Uber subsidiary Lion City Holdings Pte Ltd. However, Uber’s decision to sell its Southeast Asia business to rival Grab only a month later cast some uncertainty over the deal.
Following Uber’s exit from the region, Comfort had reportedly told its taxi drivers to delete the Uber app on their phones. However, in February, the company said in an SGX filing that it remained committed to the partnership with Uber.
Commenting on the decision to officially pull out of the deal with Uber, ComfortDelGro managing director and group CEO Yang Ban Seng said in an official statement that the move was made due to the change in operating environment following Uber’s exit, which made the partnership “no longer relevant”.
He added, however, that the company, which has a total fleet size of about 41,500 buses, taxis and rental vehicles, was still keen on entering the ride-hailing space through other means.
“Nevertheless, the Group still has every intention to go into the private hire vehicle space as we see the increasing convergence of private hire vehicles and taxis in the personalised mobility market,” Seng said.
ComfortDelGro did not immediately respond to questions by DEALSTREETASIA about its plans in the private hire space, but it is believed that a collaboration with an existing ride-hailing player could be on the cards.
According to The Straits Times, Grab has said that it will reach out to ComfortDelGro for possible partnerships, while TechCrunch had earlier reported that the Singapore firm has also held talks with Indonesian ride-hailing giant Go-Jek for a potential collaboration.
After months of speculation about its expansion plans, Go-Jek has recently confirmed Singapore as one of its target markets, along with Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.
The arrival of Go-Jek will be warmly welcomed by Singapore, as regulators in the country have already expressed concerns about potential monopoly brought about as a result of the Grab-Uber deal.