Uber CEO says company can do an IPO without being profitable

New Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (Drew Angerer, AFP)
New Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (Drew Angerer, AFP)

Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi said he doesn’t think his ride-hailing company needs to be profitable before a planned public offering (IPO) in the second half of 2019.

Khosrowshahi, speaking on Monday at the Fortune Brainstorm conference in Aspen, Colorado, said he was more focused on generating positive cash flow than making the company profitable according to generally accepted accounting principles.

The San Francisco-based startup burned through more than $10.7bn since it was founded in 2009. The company technically turned a profit in the first quarter of this year thanks to the value on paper of selling its Southeast Asian business. But by another accounting measure that excludes interest, taxes and other expenses, Uber lost $312m in the quarter.

Uber must also answer lingering questions about its corporate culture.

Khosrowshahi described the target - often repeated - of an IPO in the second half of 2019 as "a goal" during the interview.

He described the search for a chief financial officer as slower than he would have liked, but he said the company had a couple of candidates.

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