German chauffeur service Blacklane targets Middle East

German driver service Blacklane will IPO in the next three years. (Reuters)
Updated 01 May 2019
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German chauffeur service Blacklane targets Middle East

  • Blacklane is expanding into 20 cities in the Middle East this year, including Cairo, and investing $10-$20 million in the expansion
  • Blacklane, which competes with the likes of British premium car service Addison Lee and UberBLACK, caters to business customers in 300 cities in 60 countries

DUBAI: German chauffeur service Blacklane is planning an initial public offering (IPO) in the next three years, its chief executive told Reuters, as it strives to build its position in the fast-growing premium taxi market.
Any flotation would follow those of larger ride-hailing rivals. US group Lyft listed last month with a valuation of $24.3 billion, while Uber is planning an IPO that values the company at $80.5-$91.5 billion.
“This would be a natural evolution of our business model and our traction to IPO in the next years to come. That’s pretty realistic,” Blacklane CEO Jens Wohltorf said in an interview on the sidelines of a tourism fair in Dubai. He declined to provide any details.
Blacklane, which competes with the likes of British premium car service Addison Lee and UberBLACK, the ride-hailing app’s luxury arm, caters to business customers in 300 cities in 60 countries.
Uber, by comparison, says it is available in more than 600 cities worldwide.
Blacklane is expanding into 20 cities in the Middle East this year, including Cairo, Wohltorf said.
It will invest $10-$20 million in the expansion, financed by the company and its shareholders, which include German premium carmaker Daimler AG and Abu Dhabi-based Al Fahim Group, he added.
Wohltorf said Blacklane’s core driver service was profitable, but that overall the company was not because it was expanding in areas such as airport express services.
“If we decide we don’t want to grow one hundred and twenty percent year over year anymore, but slower, we could immediately turn it around,” he said.
Blacklane currently does around half of its business in Europe, with about a third in the US and the rest in the Middle East and Asia.
The company was founded in Berlin in 2011.


Gulf countries strengthen oil coordination amid tensions: Kuwait

Updated 20 May 2019
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Gulf countries strengthen oil coordination amid tensions: Kuwait

  • ‘It is normal amid this escalation that Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries take these steps’
  • Kuwait was in ‘constant contact’ with its ally, the US

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister said countries in the Gulf have strengthened coordination to provide oil to global markets amid increased regional tensions.
“It is normal amid this escalation that Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries take these steps,” Khalid Al-Jarallah told reporters late Sunday on the sidelines of a Ramadan sit-down organized by the Iraqi embassy.
“There is cooperation and coordination between Kuwait and the Gulf countries to provide guarantees for oil tankers and continuous supply of energy to global markets.”
Jarallah’s comments come days after sabotage attacks against tankers in highly sensitive Gulf waters and the bombing of a Saudi pipeline — the latter claimed by Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels.
Both attacks targeted routes built as alternatives to the Strait of Hormuz, the conduit for almost all Gulf exports.
The US Fifth Fleet headquartered in Bahrain said the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council began “enhanced security patrols” Saturday in international waters, in “tight coordination with the US navy.”
Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the strait in case of war with the United States, which earlier this month announced it was sending an aircraft carrier and strike group to the region.
Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister said “tension was escalating quickly” but he remained hopeful.
He added Kuwait was in “constant contact” with its ally, the US.
On Saturday, OPEC giant Saudi Arabia called for urgent meetings of the GCC and the Arab League to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region.
The two summits are scheduled to be held in Makkah on May 30.
Jarallah welcomed the kingdom’s invitation, saying Kuwait was keen to take part in discussions on issues “potentially dangerous” to the region.