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Banks value Uber at up to $120B for 2019 IPO; European September car sales sink

TOP NEWS

* Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley have valued Uber Technologies Inc. at up to $120 billion in a possible early-2019 initial public offering, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Uber declined to comment on the matter, and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to requests for comment from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Separately, Uber has received expressions of interest from some investors for a minority position in the U.S. ride-hailing app's self-driving car unit, the Financial Times reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. Uber reportedly could spin off its Advanced Technologies Group unit but retain operational control and majority ownership. It also is seeking minority investments for its food delivery business, Uber Eats, even though the company raised the size of its $1.5 billion bond offering to $2 billion as a result of higher demand, the newspaper reported.

* New passenger car registrations in Europe dropped 23.5% year over year to 1,091,220 units in September, from 1,427,013 units a year earlier, hurt by the introduction of the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure emissions norms from Sept. 1, according to a report by auto industry body ACEA. However, year-to-date registrations are up 2.5% year over year on higher demand in Spain, France and Germany offset by sales contractions in Italy and the U.K.

CARMAKERS

* Workers at General Motors Co.'s South Korean unit voted to go on strike to protest the carmaker's plan to create a separate research and development division, Yonhap News Agency reported. GM Korea workers see the establishment of GM Korea Technical Center Ltd. as the company's first step toward completely shutting down its car manufacturing operations in the country. GM will hold a shareholders' meeting Oct. 19 to vote on the proposed R&D site.

* Renault SA and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. signed a strategic cooperation agreement with local officials from China's Liaoning province to boost the growth of light commercial vehicles, or LCVs, in the country. According to the release, the companies aim to produce 150,000 LCVs in China annually by 2022. Renault also confirmed plans to launch three new electric LCVs for the Chinese market within two years.

* Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s Chinese joint venture partner, Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd., aims to roll out 40 new models in the country by 2022, including 20 electrified vehicles. The new models will encompass the Nissan, Infiniti, Venucia and Dongfeng brands in China.

* Volvo Cars' performance electric car brand Polestar inaugurated its new global headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.-owned entity said.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* India's Tata Motors Ltd. formed a new shared mobility unit, called Mobility Innovations Hub, which will seek to partner with ride-hailing firms like Uber Technologies Inc. and Uber's local competitor OLA Fleet Technologies Pvt. Ltd., as well as use the automaker's fleet of commercial and passenger vehicles for other mobility ventures, Mint (India) reported, citing two people aware of the development. A Tata Motors spokesman reportedly confirmed the move and said Pankaj Jhunja, formerly with Tata Technologies, will lead the unit, reporting to the president of Tata Motors' electric mobility business and corporate strategy, Shailesh Chandra. The spokesman did not give further details, although the newspaper reported that the unit would also work on augmented reality, virtual reality and big data to help develop other mobility services.

* Tesla Inc. agreed to buy an 86,000-square-meter site in Shanghai for its first overseas factory, Reuters reported, citing a Chinese social media post by Tesla. The purchase price was not given, but Shanghai Bureau of Planning and Land Resources reportedly auctioned off an 864,885-square-meter plot at a price of 973 million yuan, or $140.5 million. Tesla previously said it would tap Asian debt markets to help fund the Shanghai plant, which would have an annual capacity of 500,000 cars.

* Volkswagen AG-owned Audi AG received clearance to test level 4 autonomous cars in Beijing, Gasgoo reported. Audi previously received such a permit in the city of Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. Audi China reportedly bagged the license to test autonomous cars on several road sections in Beijing Economic Technological Development Area, Shunyi District and Fangshan District.

POLICY, REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., introduced a bill to the Senate on Oct. 11 that could remove the cap on electric vehicles eligible for tax credits, according to Reuters. Under the current rule, the tax credit starts phasing out once a manufacturer sells 200,000 EVs. The move comes after Tesla Inc., the only automaker to have sold more than 200,000 EVs, said orders placed after Oct. 15 would no longer be eligible for the full tax credit.

* The settlement between the SEC and Tesla Inc. was approved by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in New York City, Bloomberg News reported.

* Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there will not be enough time to vote on the new trilateral trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, due to be signed Nov. 30, before the end of 2018, Reuters reported, leaving the issue to the next Congress.

* European auto industry group ACEA said some of its members are "planning a temporary post-Brexit production shutdown" as the group warned of the "potentially far-reaching" impacts of a no-deal Brexit. British Prime Minister Theresa May is scheduled to meet EU national leaders at a summit on Oct. 17.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* Dutch lithium-ion battery maker Lithium Werks B.V. signed a framework agreement with Zhejiang Jiashan Economic and Technological Development Zone Industry Corp. to build a 60-hectares battery gigafactory in China's Yangtze river delta. Lithium Werks, which expects to construct several such gigafactories across the world as part of its 15 to 20 year program, expects to have an installed production capacity of 500 GWh per year by 2030 at the proposed facility.

* General Motors Co. is recalling 3,028 Chevrolet Express and GMC Sierra vehicles, of model years 2016-2018, to fix an overheating problem in the cars' climate control modules, ConsumerAffairs reported.

* Jackson, Mich.-based private equity firm Michigan Capital Partners LP invested in Ventech LLC, the developer of a liquid heat generator that reduces fuel consumption and emissions and is used for a range of automotive purposes.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* Ride-hailing company Lyft Inc. selected underwriters for its initial public offering, which is expected to value the company at over $15.1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. JPMorgan Chase & Co. will lead the offering along with Credit Suisse Group AG and Jefferies Group LLC, the report said. California-based Lyft, which is expected to file for an IPO in the first half of 2019, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Volkswagen AG provisionally agreed to a new business model governing its relationship with its network of 5,400 European dealerships from April 2020, an overhaul it says is necessary to create new incentives for the brand's representatives to market its forthcoming range of digital services. As part of the new strategy, the company is developing an internet platform for direct sales on which customers can select their car, sign a contract, work out financing and agree to the terms under which an existing vehicle will be traded in. Alternatively, for clients who prefer to deal face-to-face, five new showroom formats will be available to visit.

* Daimler AG and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG offered certain concessions to the European Commission to help secure an approval for the two German automakers' mobility services joint venture, Reuters reported, citing an EC filing. The EU's regulatory arm will reportedly seek comments from customers and competitors until Nov. 7, after which it is expected to rule whether to accept the concessions, demand more or open a full-scale investigation.

* Walmart Inc. has teamed up with Virginia-based Advance Auto Parts Inc. to set up an automotive specialty store on Walmart.com. The partnership will give consumers access to Advance's automotive replacement parts, accessories and maintenance items on the retail giant's e-commerce platform. The specialty store is expected to be launched in the first half of 2019.

TRUCKS AND MOTORCYCLES

* AB Volvo revealed that a component used to limit nitrogen oxides emissions was degrading quicker than anticipated. "All products equipped with the component meet emissions limits at delivery; the degradation is due to a materials issue that occurs over time," the company said in a statement. The Swedish truck-maker said the volume of affected engines or vehicles is still unknown although it estimates that the largest volume of potentially affected engines had been sold in North America and Europe.

* India's Hero MotoCorp Ltd. posted second-quarter profit after tax of 9.76 billion Indian rupees, a fall from the 10.10 billion rupees the two-wheeler-maker reported a year earlier. Diluted EPS in the second quarter ended Sept. 30 was 48.88 rupees, beating analysts' consensus estimate of 47.53 rupees compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Quarterly revenue from operations rose to 90.91 billion from 83.72 billion rupees in the same period in 2017.

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The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 was up 1.29% 22,841.12.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.20% to 7,073.55, and Euronext 100 had climbed 0.19% to 1,006.33.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report and the EIA petroleum status report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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