Uber turns to India, Africa and Middle East as losses mount

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks to the media at an event in New Delhi, India, October 22, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 22 October 2019

Uber turns to India, Africa and Middle East as losses mount

  • Khosrowshahi brushed aside fears the stock price could fall further after the expiration of a lock-up period in November
  • Uber has exited several markets — including China and Southeast Asia — to pare back losses

NEW DELHI: The head of Uber said Tuesday that the global ride services firm was counting on India, Africa and the Middle East for future growth amid investor fears about mounting losses and a slump in its share price.
Uber has exited several markets — including China and Southeast Asia — to pare back losses, and is in fierce competition with rival Ola in India, a market estimated to be worth $7 billion a year.
Since its public offering in May, Uber’s share price has tumbled some 30 percent, while the company lost $5.2 billion in the second quarter.
“India is a fundamental part of Uber’s growth going forward... it’s a top 10 market for us,” chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi told reporters in New Delhi.
“The profitability characteristics of our business here are improving. If I look at Uber’s growth over the next 10 years, it’s... going to be defined by India, Africa and the Middle East, more so than the developed markets.”
Khosrowshahi brushed aside fears the stock price could fall further after the expiration of a lock-up period in November, after which company employees and early investors can sell their shares.
The chief executive, who was in Delhi to unveil an updated version of Uber’s app linking the Delhi Metro public transport system with its services, said he was focused on long-term prospects.
The revamped app is part of a global campaign to attract more users.
While India is one of Uber’s biggest markets — with 12 percent of its global rides — the firm still lags behind Ola in the nation of over 1.3 billion people.
It has also struggled to keep up with the two largest online food-delivery players Zomato and Swiggy.
The company laid off some staff in India as part of global job cuts as it tries to map a route to profitability.
But chief product officer Manik Gupta told AFP that Uber would double its technology team to 1,000 as proof of its commitment to Asia’s third-largest economy.
“We definitely want to show our commitment to India,” Gupta said.
Uber’s third-quarter results will be released in two weeks.


Natixis opens investment banking office in Saudi Arabia

Updated 31 May 2020

Natixis opens investment banking office in Saudi Arabia

  • Western financial institutions have been seeking opportunities in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: French investment bank Natixis has opened a corporate and investment banking office in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh and appointed former JPMorgan banker Reema Al-Asmari as its chief executive officer, the bank said on Sunday.
Western financial institutions have been seeking opportunities in Saudi Arabia since the government unveiled plans to privatize state assets and introduced reforms to attract foreign capital under its Vision 2030 program to reduce the economy’s dependence on oil.
“By establishing a local presence, Natixis aims to deepen its relationships with its existing clients, including corporates, sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions, and to serve new clients, including family offices,” Natixis said in a statement.
The bank’s office, located in Al Faisaliah Tower, will offer “tailor-made capital markets products and investment banking services.”
Al-Asmari, who joined Natixis last August as an adviser to the bank’s Dubai branch, will continue to report to Simon Eedle, Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking’s regional head for the Middle East.
Eedle said in a statement that the bank’s commitment to the Middle East dated back more than 20 years and he believed its areas of expertise were closely aligned with the needs of clients in the region. “This is very much the case for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, notably in the context of Vision 2030,” he said, adding it was a “pivotal time” for the kingdom.