Toyota investing $1 billion in Asian ride-share firm Grab

Ride-share company Grab operates across Asia and has agreed earlier this year to acquire Uber’s Southeast Asian business. (AFP)
Updated 13 June 2018
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Toyota investing $1 billion in Asian ride-share firm Grab

TOKYO: Toyota said Wednesday it was investing $1 billion in Asia ride-share company Grab, as the Japanese automaker looks to expand beyond its core business into the “mobility” sector.
Grab, which is headquartered in Singapore, is a leading player in the ride-share industry in Asia, and earlier this year agreed to acquire US giant Uber’s regional operations.
In a statement, Toyota said the deal “is aimed at achieving connectivity for Grab’s rental car fleet across Southeast Asia, and at rolling out various connected services throughout the region that utilize vehicle data” stored by Toyota.
Toyota will place one of its executives on Grab’s board, and a second Toyota team member will serve as an executive officer at the company, which Toyota called the “partner of choice for ride-hailing in the region.”
The investment comes as Toyota works to adapt to what company president Akio Toyoda calls “profound change” in the industry.
Last month, Toyoda pledged to transform the auto giant to meet a “once-in-a-century challenge.”
“I have decided to transform Toyota from a car manufacturer to a mobility company,” he said, without offering much detail on what that would entail beyond providing “various services involving movement of people around the world.”
Grab operates across Asia and agreed to acquire Uber’s Southeast Asian business earlier this year.
The deal has run into trouble though, with Singapore saying in April that it would impose restrictions on the acquisition until it concludes a probe into whether the sale may have infringed competition rules.
Under the deal, Uber was to receive a 27.5 percent stake in Grab.


Etihad to loan pilots to competing UAE airline Emirates

Updated 27 min 34 sec ago
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Etihad to loan pilots to competing UAE airline Emirates

  • Etihad Airways has told its pilots they can join rival Emirates on a temporary basis for two years
  • The agreement is also likely to help Emirates, where a pilot shortage forced it to cancel some flights this summer

DUBAI: Etihad Airways has told its pilots they can join rival Emirates on a temporary basis for two years, according to an internal Etihad email seen by Reuters, as the downsizing of the Abu Dhabi carrier’s operations helps fill a pilot shortage for Dubai’s Emirates.
Etihad, which last week reported a $1.5 billion annual loss, has been overhauling its business since 2016, replacing its top executive, dropping unprofitable routes and shrinking its fleet.
The agreement is also likely to help Emirates, where a pilot shortage forced it to cancel some flights this summer. Management had said the shortage was a short-term issue.
In the email, Etihad said pilots who join Emirates on a two-year secondment would be placed on a leave of absence, retain seniority at Etihad, and receive their salary and full benefits from the Dubai airline.
Pilots were asked in the email to register a non-binding expression of interest and told that Emirates’ recruitment team would meet with pilots at Etihad’s offices.
Two sources separately told Reuters that Etihad had emailed staff announcing the agreement with Emirates.
An Etihad spokesman told Reuters secondment programs were common practice among airlines, enabling the effective management of pilot resources.
“This is something Etihad Airways has done for several years with partner airlines around the world,” the spokesman said.
An Emirates spokeswoman told Reuters the airline was “working with Etihad on a secondment program for some of their pilots.”
It was not immediately clear how many pilots would be offered temporary employment at Emirates and the email stated that any pilots applying for the secondment would need to complete Emirates’ training program.
Etihad employs 2,200 pilots, according to the airline spokesman. Reuters reported in January that Etihad had offered up to 18 months unpaid leave to pilots.
Emirates and Etihad have been exploring closer ties and signed a security pact in January, the first agreement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based airlines. Emirates has since said that a closer relationship was not about a merger.
Emirates and Etihad, backed by their state owners, have competed developing global networks from their respective hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi that are just 128 kilometers apart.
Emirates is owned by the government of Dubai, and Etihad is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.