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Your Next Acquisition Awaits By Investing.com

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By Christiana Sciaudone

Investing.com — You probably haven’t ever heard of Waitr, but if CEO Carl Grimstad has his way, the name will soon be in headlines alongside Uber (NYSE:) Eats, DoorDash or Grubhub — as proud new owner of the food delivery service.

“I have three competitors that all want more market share that are super highly capitalized. Consolidation works in this industry,” Grimstad said in a phone interview this week. “”It’s going to be hand to hand combat.”

Uber, Grubhub and Doordash did not reply to requests for comment.

Waitr, founded in 2013, focuses on underserved markets largely in the Southeast of the U.S. Grimstad joined in January to turn around the company from a money-loser whose stock at one point plummeted from a high of $14.15 in March 2019 to a low of 24 cents eight months later. Grimstad saw dwindling cash balances at the Lafayette, La.-based Waitr, which faced delisting for having a low share price for an extended time. He cut expenses, increased fees and reclassified drivers from employees to contractors.

In the second quarter this year, Waitr saw its first-ever quarterly profit, and Grimstad intends for it to continue that way, regardless of whether or not he sells the company. 

“You really can’t run a business to sell it, you have to run it for the long term,” Grimstad said. “Our head is down and we’re doing the blocking and tackling every day.”

While Waitr doesn’t have a huge analyst following — there are two that we found — both seem to quite like the stock. In August, Craig-Hallum analyst Alex Fuhrman reiterated a buy after meeting with management. Waitr’s fundamentals are strong and the stock is cheap compared to rival Grubhub, StreetInsider reported Fuhrman as saying. 

In July, B. Riley analyst Jeff Van Sinderen started coverage with a buy rating, noting that it “frequently commands first or second place in market share, while efficient penetration and servicing of such markets has largely proven elusive for the larger players in the industry,” according to StreetInsider. 

Grimstad cites the 20-odd markets where the company is the local favorite as among the most attractive qualities that a possible buyer might look for. It also serves 20 million customers and 20,000 restaurants.

“The market has expanded so rapidly, all the players are everywhere, but we have meaningful market share in these harder to reach plus or minus 20 markets,” Grimstad said. “Secondarily, it’s a cash flow machine now.”

Market research indicates that the food delivery industry’s total addressable market will continue to grow for years as more types of food preparation businesses begin to use delivery services, Van Sinderen said. “We believe that WTRH has been reborn under new CEO Carl Grimstad, who took the helm on January 3, 2020, following lackluster performance throughout  most of 2019 and significant management turnover,” Van Sinderen wrote in a note. “Mr. Grimstad has repositioned WTRH as a promising acquisition target, as it has inflected to growth and profitability and offers a deft command of smaller markets.”

Grimstad previously co-founded and headed up iPayment, a provider of credit and debit card payment processing services to small and medium-sized merchants. To learn about the delivery business, he actually delivered food and sat in the customer service center for hours. 

He sees Waitr as an integrated payments company, and recently issued a dine-in option in which customers can use Waitr to order via a QR code and pay the bill — very Covid-friendly. It’s a solution Grimstad points out can be sold in any market, and isn’t limited to Waitr’s current locations, a possible selling point for Uber Eats, Grubhub or DoorDash.

“We believe WTRH is an attractive takeout candidate following the wave of consolidation that the industry has experienced globally,” B. Riley’s Van Sinderen said.

 





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Tesla sets revenue record, makes profit thanks to pollution credit sales to rivals By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The company logo is pictured on a Tesla Model X electric vehicle in Moscow

By Tina Bellon and Akanksha Rana

(Reuters) – Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc on Wednesday reported its fifth consecutive quarterly profit on record revenue of $8.8 billion, boosted by an uptick in vehicle deliveries and sales of environmental regulatory credits to other automakers.

The electric car maker also affirmed its target to deliver half a million vehicles by the end of this year, a goal that will require it to significantly ramp up vehicle sales in the fourth quarter.

Shares were up 2.5% at $433.88 in extended trade as the carmaker beat analysts’ estimates.

Tesla said it had the capacity installed to produce and deliver 500,000 vehicles this year, but added that achieving its goal has become more difficult.

“Achieving this target depends primarily on quarter over quarter increases in Model Y and Shanghai production,” the company said.

Asked by an analyst during a conference call whether Tesla aimed to deliver 840,000 to 1 million vehicles next year, based on its factories’ current maximum capacity, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk responded the target was “in that vicinity,” while another Tesla executive said the company would provide guidance next quarter.

Tesla has defied a downward trend in the wider auto industry in 2020 and bucked a pandemic and economic upheaval with steady sales and profitable quarters, sending shares up around 400% this year.

At $394.5 billion, Tesla’s market capitalization has become the largest among all global automakers, despite the company trailing rivals in sales, revenue and profit.

Tesla’s ascent highlights investor confidence in the future of electric vehicles and the company’s shift from niche carmaker to global leader in clean cars.

But Craig Irwin, an analyst with Roth Capital Partners, cautioned that Tesla’s lead could soon narrow.

“The company is still valued incredibly richly, like it’s operating in a vacuum, yet competitors are working furiously to catch up,” he said, referring to more than 400 new electric vehicle models scheduled to hit the roads by 2024.

General Motors Co (NYSE:) on Wednesday revealed an electric version of its Hummer pickup truck that will compete with Tesla’s futuristic Cybertruck, which is scheduled to go into production next year.

Musk on Wednesday said Cybertruck orders will be delivered in 2022, or toward the end of 2021 the earliest.

Tesla in September outlined plans to cut battery production costs by producing larger cells in-house to power a growing fleet, including heavier, more energy-intense vehicles.

But Musk on Wednesday said the company would not depend on internal cell production before 2022, suggesting that Tesla will continue to rely on its external battery suppliers Panasonic (OTC:) Corp, LG Chem and CATL.

He also said Tesla would roll out what it calls “Full Self Driving” more widely by the end of this year. Tesla on Wednesday launched the feature for an undisclosed number of “expert, careful” drivers in a pilot launch.

Musk has been promising fully autonomous features for several years and Tesla buyers can pay $8,000 in hopes of eventually receiving the upgrade.

Safety groups have criticized the term “Full Self Driving” as dangerously misleading, with the system expected to be capable of functioning only in limited-use cases.

Revenue rose to a record $8.77 billion from $6.30 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected revenue of $8.36 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Excluding items, Tesla posted a profit of 76 cents per share. It reported net income of $331 million, or $874 million excluding stock-based compensation awards given to Musk.

Revenue from the sale of regulatory credits made up $397 million. Without that revenue, Tesla would not have achieved a profitable quarter.

So far this year, regulatory credits account for $1.18 billion, or 7% of total automotive revenue.

Pollution credits became a more meaningful source of revenue for Tesla about a year ago when California and other U.S. states increased the mandatory share of zero-emission vehicles sold per manufacturer. As competitors begin selling more electric vehicles, that revenue is expected to dry up.

With recovery in the United States sluggish and Europe struggling with a second bout of the virus outbreak, some analysts have pinned their hopes for Tesla on growth on China, which has begun to recover as consumers shake off the pandemic’s effects.

Tesla does not break out regional sales, but data from China’s auto industry association, CPCA, showed Tesla Model 3 sedan sales remained roughly flat from July to September. Overall, Tesla sold around 34,100 Shanghai-made Model 3s in the third quarter.

Tesla on Wednesday said Model 3 production at its Shanghai plant has increased to 250,000 vehicles a year, its targeted production rate.

Its main factory in Fremont, California, has a capacity of 590,000 vehicles, including the Model Y.

The carmaker said it would focus on improving manufacturing cost and efficiency and increase capacity as quickly as possible.

Tesla is building additional vehicle and battery plants in Berlin, Germany, and Austin, Texas, to ramp up production of existing vehicles and launch new models, including its Cybertruck and Semi truck.

Production at the German factory is expected to start in 2021.





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12 million people in Britain will struggle to pay bills, watchdog says By Reuters

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© Reuters. Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Some 12 million people in Britain are likely to struggle with bills and loan repayments as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak economic havoc, a Financial Conduct Authority survey tracking consumer financial resilience showed on Thursday.

The survey, conducted in July, found 12 million people in Britain had low financial resilience and also found that one-sixth of those people had become financially vulnerable since February, after lockdowns to control the virus slashed incomes and led to thousands of job cuts.

The survey, in which 7,000 people took part, showed that almost a third of adults have suffered a drop in income, while income for households has fallen by a quarter on average.

Black and Minority Ethnic respondents fared even worse, with 37% reporting a hit to their incomes.

More than a third of respondents, who already had low financial resilience and had a mortgage, said they were likely to fall behind on mortgage payments, while 42% of renters said they were worried about falling behind on their obligations.

36% of people feared falling behind on repayments linked to loans or credit cards.

“We want to remind consumers, especially those who are newly in financial difficulty that lenders are able to provide you with support,” Sheldon Mills, the FCA’s Interim Executive Director of Strategy and Competition said.

The regulator has put together a package of measures to ensure vulnerable households can access help after Oct. 31, when earlier COVID-19 relief initiatives such as loan and mortgage repayment breaks and the original Job Retention Scheme expire.

It has also encouraged borrowers to seek free advice on how to manage problem debts and urged banks and lenders to treat customers fairly, adding that firms should work with customers to provide support before they miss payments.

Options to negotiate new repayment plans, suspend, reduce, waive or cancel any further interest or charges will be open to customers, the FCA said.

However, banks needed to be transparent about how such actions could result in increased costs over the long term and how such support could impact personal credit profiles.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Exxon Mobil ‘very close’ to disclosing U.S., Canada job cuts, CEO says By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Logos of ExxonMobil are seen in its booth at Gastech, the world’s biggest expo for the gas industry, in Chiba

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp (N:) is “very close” to completing its workforce appraisals in the United States and Canada and expects to unveil job cuts, its chief executive told employees in an email on Wednesday.

The second-largest U.S. oil company by market value lost nearly $1.7 billion in the first six months and is expected to post another quarterly loss when results are released on Oct. 30.

The job cuts are part of a plan unveiled earlier this year to redesign how Exxon works and to increase competitiveness, CEO Darren Woods said in an email to its nearly 75,000-person workforce.

The company this year has exceeded a target of reducing operating expenses by $1 billion and capital budget spending by $10 billion, he wrote. But the COVID-19 pandemic has cut oil demand by about 20%, he said, delivering a “devastating impact” on the oil business.

He told employees that “we are very close” to completing the jobs review and that they could expect details soon.

“I wish I could say we were finished, but we are not. We still have some significant headwinds, more work to do and, unfortunately, further reductions are necessary,” he said in the email.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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