InterContinental Hotels Group to open Crowne Plaza Riyadh

Updated 12 February 2018
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InterContinental Hotels Group to open Crowne Plaza Riyadh

RiIYADH: Leading hotel operator Inter Continental Hotels Group will be opening its seventh Crowne Plaza hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
The 326-room hotel will be located in ‘Al-Ra’idah Digital City’ a mixed-use district that is expected to accommodate over 20,000 employees and up to 10,000 residents in the forseeable future. The Al-Ra’idah digital city has been welcoming multinationals, technology companies, government agencies, and many of the new ventures that are part of the National Transformation Project 2030.
The hotel features more than 12000m2 of exhibition and conference space including, a three-level circular conference center, a ballroom, large pre-function areas and 12 daylight meeting rooms.
Waleed Al Eisa, the chief operating officerof Al Ra’idah Investment Company said that he is “delighted to work with IHG to bring another Crowne Plaza hotel to Al Ra’idah Digital City.
“IHG continues to be a trusted brand in the Kingdom, offering guests world-class amenities, seamless guest experience and an unparalleled rewards program.”


Uber narrows loss but is a long way from finding profit, targets India and Middle East

Updated 16 August 2018
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Uber narrows loss but is a long way from finding profit, targets India and Middle East

  • Uber’s net loss narrowed to $891 million in its second quarter ending June 30 from $1.1 billion a year earlier
  • While Uber has retreated from China, Southeast Asia and Russia, it says it is sticking with India and the Middle East

SAN FRANCISCO: Uber said on Wednesday it narrowed its quarterly losses from a year earlier, although the ride-hailing company is still a long way from proving it can be profitable as it gears up to go public in 2019.
Under the leadership of Dara Khosrowshahi, who became chief executive in September, Uber has juggled investing in new markets while retreating from others where it was losing millions of dollars. It is building up services like food delivery and freight hauling as it seeks new revenue, and possibly a path to profitability, outside its core business.
Uber’s net loss narrowed to $891 million in its second quarter ending June 30 from $1.1 billion a year earlier. Its adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $614 million, down from $773 million a year earlier.
Net revenue rose more quickly than gross bookings in the second quarter from the prior period as the company dialed back on promotional subsidies of rides.
But its growth faces risks from decisions like that by New York City this month to cap licenses for ride-hailing services for one year. Uber has also had to grapple with corporate scandals and has lingering and costly legal battles, including over its classification of drivers as independent contractors, and federal probes to resolve.
“I remain unimpressed,” said Brent Goldfarb, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland. Improving losses by cutting “the lowest hanging fruit doesn’t mean the underlying model is profitable.”
The company’s most recent valuation was pegged earlier this year at $72 billion. But that was based on Uber becoming the global winner in ride-hailing and logistics, a vision it has retrenched from, and public investors may see a smaller company worth less.
Uber can expect a valuation haircut in an IPO if it does not show more progress toward becoming profitable, said David Brophy, professor of finance at the University of Michigan.
Adjusted losses in the first quarter were $312 million, excluding gains from Uber selling some overseas businesses to local competitors. The sale of its Russia and Southeast Asia operations resulted in a one-time $2.5 billion gain in the first quarter and lowered second-quarter costs.
Under pressure from its board, Uber has endeavored to find more savings after years of a growth-at-all-cost mentality under prior CEO Travis Kalanick, enabled by billions of dollars in private investment.
The company had $12 billion in quarterly gross bookings, which includes rides and Uber Eats, up 6 percent from the previous quarter and about 40 percent from a year before.
Net revenue, which strips out what gets paid to drivers as well as promotions and refunds, was $2.8 billion, up 8 percent over the first quarter and more than 60 percent from last year.
“We had another great quarter, continuing to grow at an impressive rate for a business of our scale,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

STICKING WITH INDIA, MIDDLE EAST
Uber is a private company and not required to publicly disclose financials, but recently boosted transparency by starting to release selected figures as it eyes an initial public offering.
Faced with criticism about flooding cities with cars, Uber is spending on bike and scooter rentals, including its acquisition of JUMP electric bikes in April.
While Uber has retreated from China, Southeast Asia and Russia, it says it is sticking with India and the Middle East, tough markets with strong local competitors.
“We are cementing our leadership position in India and the Middle East,” Khosrowshahi said.
Several Uber investors have told Reuters they want Uber to leave these costly markets too and focus on North America, where US-based Lyft continues to pose a threat, and pull back on ancillary businesses like Uber Freight.
Uber has $7.3 billion in cash on hand, up a billion dollars from the end of the first quarter. The company listed an inflow of $1.5 billion from term loan issuance, net of costs.
(Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)