Careem, a ride-hailing startup Uber acquired for $3.1 billion, sees a slow road to recovery amid a new wave of COVID-19 infections in the Middle East
In 2019, we wrote about Careem after Uber acquired the Middle East ride-hailing startup for $3.1 billion. Uber completed the acquisition in January 2020 after completing various regulatory requirements. Careem later became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, preserving its brand.
Then in February 2020, the deadly coronavirus pandemic hit, and things have not been going well since then. In September 20202, Careem said it expected its ride service to recover before the end of 2021. However, the company’s hope of turning things around faded as a new wave of COVID-19 infections rises in the Middle East.
Now, according to a report from Reuters, Careem is forecasting its business would return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year. Careem Chief Executive Mudassir Sheikha, giving the year-end forecast for a full recovery, cautioned that circumstances could change, Reuters wrote.
“That is something that we still think will happen but as you can imagine, it is a pretty volatile situation so we’re just monitoring it closely,” he told Reuters.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait have recently imposed new restrictions as the number of cases there has risen. Egypt and Lebanon have also seen infections increase.
Founded in 2012, Careem claims to have 30 million registered users in over 120 cities in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, and Pakistan. The company, which counts German car maker Damler and China’s largest ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing among its backers, is Uber’s largest rival in the region.