Debt-laden Uber warned operating expenses would rise significantly in the foreseeable future, but talked-up potential growth in core business lines, as it put forward its case for investment in its forthcoming IPO.
In its prospectus, the company revealed between its founding in 2009 and the end of 2018 it accumulated debt of $7.9 billion. In 2018 alone, it recorded a loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $1.8 billion (albeit this was down from a $2.6 billion loss in 2017).
Among the many risk factors cited in the document, Uber warned it operated in very competitive sectors and faced a number of potentially damaging regulatory issues. It added the company may never actually be profitable.
Potential issues include pressure in some countries to have the role of drivers redefined as employees rather than contract workers and uncertainty related to a deal to acquire Middle East rival Careem.
Although it didn’t reveal the estimated price of shares or how much it hoped to raise, CNBC and other US news outlets estimated it will sell $10 billion worth of stock in the listing and achieve a corporate valuation of around $100 billion.
In his pitch to potential investors CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said over the last 18 months the company had “improved its governance and board oversight, built a stronger and more cohesive management team and made changes necessary to ensure our company culture rewards teamwork and encourages employees to commit for the long term.”
He also warned the company would not “shy away” from making short-term financial sacrifices for long-term gain.