Uber loses US$1b in quarter, hitting forecast, as revenue rises 20pc

Uber was the biggest of a group of Silicon Valley startups that have gone public this year against the backdrop of a global stock market sell-off sparked by renewed trade tensions between the United States and China. — Reuters pic
Uber was the biggest of a group of Silicon Valley startups that have gone public this year against the backdrop of a global stock market sell-off sparked by renewed trade tensions between the United States and China. — Reuters pic

SAN FRANCISCO, May 31 — Uber Technologies Inc reported a US$1 billion (RM4.18 billion) loss and a 20per cent rise in revenue yesterday in its first quarterly report as a public company, in line with the ride-hailing service’s forecasts.

Revenue of US$3.1 billion matched the high end of the range Uber forecast for the quarter and the loss of US$1.0 billion compared with the company’s forecast of US$1.0 billion to US$1.11 billion. Uber Chief Financial Officer Nelson Chai said the company had begun to see “less aggressive pricing” by rivals.

Shares fluctuated in after-hours trade, rising 1.6per cent at one point.

With its share price trading more than 10per cent below its IPO price of US$45, Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi will have to convince investors Uber can turn a profit, given its reliance on rider incentives and competition in all parts of its business, from ride hailing to food delivery to freight.

The results indicate the newly public company was able to hit its own financial targets, likely to offer some assurance to investors.

Costs went up 35per cent in the quarter, as the company spent heavily in the run-up to its IPO earlier this month. Gross bookings, a measure of total value of rides before driver costs and other expenses, rose 34per cent from a year ago to US$14.6 billion. Bookings were up 3.4per cent from the previous quarter, showing the difficulty of recruiting new riders in saturated markets.

“Seems largely uneventful,” Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell said. “The lack of Q2 or (fiscal year) guidance is a little disappointing — will be interesting to see if there is any forward commentary on the call.”

Uber was the biggest of a group of Silicon Valley startups that have gone public this year against the backdrop of a global stock market sell-off sparked by renewed trade tensions between the United States and China. Uber also faces increased regulation in several countries and fights with its drivers over wages.

Revenue rose from the previous quarter, and the net loss deepened from US$887 million in the fourth quarter. CFO Chai said the company was prepared to keep spending: “We will not hesitate to invest to defend our market position globally.”

Uber said its monthly active users rose to 93 million globally, from 91 million at the end of the fourth quarter.

A net loss was US$1.01 billion, or US$2.26 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 compared with net income of US$3.75 billion, or US$1.84 per share, a year earlier, when results were helped by its sale of operations to Grab and Yandex.

Uber previously said it expected first-quarter revenue in the range of US$3.04 billion to US$3.1 billion while seven analysts polled by Refinitiv IBES on average expected revenue of US$3.04 billion. — Reuters

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