Unique-Seize sees no huge layoffs regardless of weak market By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person walks previous a Seize workplace in Singapore March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

By Anshuman Daga and Xinghui Kok

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Seize, Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing and meals supply agency, doesn’t envisage having to undertake mass layoffs as some rivals have completed, and is selectively hiring, whereas reining in its monetary service ambitions.

Chief Working Officer Alex Hungate stated that earlier within the 12 months, Seize had been anxious a couple of world recession and was “very cautious and even handed about any hiring”, and in consequence, it had not received to the “determined” level of a hiring freeze or mass layoffs.

“Round mid-year, we did some form of particular reorganisations, however I do know different corporations have been doing mass layoffs, so we do not see ourselves in that class,” Hungate, 56, advised Reuters in his first interview since becoming a member of Singapore-based Seize Holdings Ltd in January.

The corporate was hiring for roles in information science, mapping know-how and different specialised areas although each rent was a a lot larger resolution than it was, he stated.

“You need to make it possible for we’re conserving capital. The hurdle for making a rent has undoubtedly been raised.”

Decade-old Seize, a family title in Southeast Asia, had about 8,800 employees on the finish of 2021. Like its rivals, it has benefited from a increase in meals companies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas ride-hailing suffered.

As economies open up, meals supply demand is softening whereas ride-hailing has but to completely get better. Tech valuations have additionally fallen dramatically and inflation, slower development and rising rates of interest have emerged as dangers.

In current weeks, Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce agency Shopee lower jobs in varied international locations and shut some abroad operations after guardian Sea reported widening losses and scrapped its annual e-commerce forecast.

Hungate, a veteran of the monetary companies, logistics and meals sectors, has spearheaded a push away from low-margin enterprise traces as Seize races to show worthwhile.

Second-quarter loss narrowed to $572 million from $801 million a 12 months earlier. However final month, it lower its gross merchandise quantity outlook for the 12 months, blaming a robust greenback and ebbing meals supply demand.

Final month, Seize stated it was shutting dozens of so-called darkish shops – distribution hubs for on-demand groceries and slowing the roll-out of its “cloud kitchen” centralised amenities for deliveries.

“The opposite space the place we have actually tightened our strategic intent is in monetary companies the place we have been rising funds, wallets and non-bank monetary lending fairly considerably off-platform and on our platform,” stated Hungate.

Seize reorganised its fintech unit this 12 months to deal with extra profitable areas and Reuters reported on the exit of some senior executives.


Seize is now primarily focussing on promoting its lending merchandise and insurance coverage on its platform to retailers and drivers who usually repay from their earnings streams on the platform.

“As we make this shift, the enterprise combine will transfer in the direction of greater margins,” stated Hungate.

Seize, which operates in 480 cities in eight international locations, has greater than 5 million registered drivers and greater than two million retailers on its platform.

It caught world consideration in 2018 when it acquired Uber (NYSE:)’s Southeast Asian enterprise after a expensive five-year battle.

Seize is betting on rising monetary companies by providing banking and different merchandise with companion Singapore Telecommunications in key markets.

It listed on the Nasdaq in December after a file $40 billion merger with a blank-check firm.

Hungate stated it was “good timing” for the corporate to look once more at the way it spends cash, given the elevated scrutiny of funds and the necessity to reply to shareholders.

“Perhaps we have been fortunate in a way that the self-discipline of being a public firm got here at simply the appropriate time,” he stated, including that Seize’s $7.7 billion money liquidity meant it was top-of-the-line capitalised trade gamers in Southeast Asia.

Seize’s shares have tumbled about 60% this 12 months to provide it a market worth of $10.6 billion.

Reuters reported final month that Seize’s Indonesian rival GoTo was looking for to boost about $1 billion by means of a convertible bond difficulty.

Hungate stated Seize would supply particulars of its progress in the direction of profitability and different metrics at its first investor day on Tuesday.

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