Saudi Arabia’s PIF could see big profit on Uber stake, Future Investment Initiative forum hears

Uber may put forth an initial public offering early next year that values the ride-hailing business at as much as $120 billion, according to a media report. (AP)
Updated 23 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s PIF could see big profit on Uber stake, Future Investment Initiative forum hears

  • Lubna Olayan, head of the Olayan Group conglomerate, highlighted a potential doubling in the value of PIF’s stake in Uber
  • Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund is potentially looking at a windfall profit on its investment in Uber Technologies

RIYADH: The Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, is potentially looking at a windfall profit on its investment in Uber Technologies, the American ride-hailing company, it emerged at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.
Lubna Olayan, head of the Olayan Group conglomerate, highlighted a potential doubling in the value of PIF’s stake in Uber if the San Francisco firm goes ahead with an initial public offering next year.
Speaking on a panel entitled “Can global investment inspire a collective vision of the future,” she remarked that PIF first invested $3.5 billion in Uber in 2016 when it was valued at approximately $60 billion.
“Now the forecast valuations for the IPO are around $120 billion. Congratulations,” she said to Yasir Al-Rumayyan, managing director of PIF.
Al-Rumayyan replied: “Uber is creating lots of jobs in Saudi Arabia and making life easier for drivers, customers and shareholders.”
PIF’s profit on any Uber IPO could be even bigger, because the Saudi organization is a major investor in the SoftBank Vision Fund, which is also holds a sizeable chunk of Uber shares from a later round of fundraising.
Al-Rumayyan told the forum that PIF’s holdings are on track to be valued at $400 billion by 2020, and $2 trillion by 2030. By then, he said, PIF’s portfolio would be split 50-50 between domestic and global investments. About 10 percent of PIF’s funds are currently invested outside Saudi Arabia.
Al-Rumayyan said it was not true that all of PIF’s investments went into high-tech assets, pointing to its 50 percent stake of a $40 billion infrastructure fund in partnership with US group Blackstone, and the hotel chain Accor.
In Saudi Arabia, PIF wants to broaden its investment in the economy, especially in the tourism and entertainment sectors. “We did not have these interests before and we want to enhance these sectors,” Al-Rumayyan said.


Tesla plans 7% staff cut as CEO Elon Musk says company must ‘work harder’

Updated 47 min 18 sec ago
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Tesla plans 7% staff cut as CEO Elon Musk says company must ‘work harder’

  • Tesla delivered over 245,000 electric cars and SUVs last year, nearly as many as all previous years combined
  • But its 2018 production fell far short of a goal set nearly three years ago of manufacturing 500,000 vehicles for the year

Saying the road ahead was “very difficult,” Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said Friday that the company would be cutting its staff by about 7 percent.
The electric car and solar panel maker notified its employees about the staff cuts and other plans in an email posted on Tesla Inc.’s website.
Musk said Tesla hopes to post a “tiny profit” in the current quarter but a 30 percent expansion in its workforce last year was more than it can support.
Tesla’s shares tumbled earlier this month after it cut vehicle prices by $2,000 and announced fourth-quarter sales figures that fell short of Wall Street estimates.
“Our products are too expensive for most people,” Musk said in the memo to Tesla staff, saying the company has to “work harder.”
“Tesla has only been producing cars for about a decade and we’re up against massive, entrenched competitors,” he said.
Musk said in a tweet in October that Tesla, based on Palo Alto, California, had 45,000 employees. A 7 percent cut would involve laying off about 3,150 people.
“We unfortunately have no choice but to reduce full-time employee headcount by approximately 7 percent ... and retain only the most critical temps and contractors,” he said.
The company says it delivered over 245,000 electric cars and SUVs last year, nearly as many as all previous years combined. But its 2018 production fell far short of a goal set nearly three years ago of manufacturing 500,000 vehicles for the year. That goal was announced in May of 2016 based on advance orders for its mid-range Model 3, which Musk said sells for $44,000.
Musk said Tesla plans to ramp up production of the Model 3, “as we need to reach more customers who can afford our vehicles.”
“Attempting to build affordable clean energy products at scale necessarily requires extreme effort and relentless creativity,” he said in the memo, “but succeeding in our mission is essential to ensure that the future is good, so we must do everything we can to advance the cause.”
Tesla broke ground earlier this month for a factory in Shanghai, its first outside the US. Musk said it plans to begin production there of the Model 3 and a planned crossover by the year’s end.
Tesla and other global automakers including General Motors Co., Volkswagen and Nissan Motor Corp. are pouring billions of dollars into manufacturing electric vehicles in China.