Uber Posts Faster Growth, but Loses $1.1 Billion

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SAN FRANCISCO — Uber capped a troublesome 2019 by posting sooner development in its ride-hailing enterprise, even because it misplaced extra money.

On Thursday, Uber stated its income within the fourth quarter of 2019 elevated 37 p.c to $four billion from a yr in the past, sooner than the 30 percent growth it recorded within the earlier quarter. The corporate misplaced $1.1 billion, greater than the $887 million it misplaced a yr earlier.

“We acknowledge that the period of development in any respect prices is over,” stated Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief government. “I’m gratified by our progress, steadily delivering towards the commitments we’ve made to our shareholders on our path to profitability.”

The outcomes had been pushed by Uber’s essential ride-hailing enterprise, with the variety of journeys rising 28 p.c to greater than 1.9 billion from a yr earlier and income rising 27 p.c to greater than $three billion. In distinction, Uber’s meals supply enterprise, Uber Eats, misplaced $461 million on income of $734 million.

Mr. Khosrowshahi beforehand stated Uber aimed to make an working revenue by 2021. However on Thursday, he stated the corporate would attain that milestone by the ultimate quarter of 2020.

Nelson Chai, Uber’s chief monetary officer, added that Uber anticipated to earn adjusted income of $16 billion to $17 billion this yr because it labored to change into worthwhile. The corporate additionally plans to chop again on the reductions and coupons it has used to develop, he stated, calling them “bookings which might be basically empty energy.”

Uber had gone into retreat for a lot of 2019 after staging a disappointing initial public offering in Could. The corporate, which spends some huge cash to draw passengers and drivers, instantly confronted doubts over whether or not it might ever make a revenue. Since then, Uber’s inventory has plunged.

In response to its critics, Mr. Khosrowshahi has minimize prices on the firm and pulled again components of its enterprise. Final yr, he laid off more than 1,000 employees and withdrew Uber’s meals supply service from South Korea. Final month, Mr. Khosrowshahi additionally sold Uber’s food delivery business in India to a neighborhood competitor, Zomato.

“Clearly, Uber has put out a considerably aggressive timeline for profitability,” stated Tom White, a senior fairness analysis analyst at D.A. Davidson. “These exits are partly a operate of them ensuring they meet that concentrate on.”

Uber is coping with different challenges. On Jan. 1, California laws went into impact that may force the company to reclassify its drivers, who’re freelancers, as staff. That may drive up Uber’s prices as a result of it must present them with advantages and different perks. Uber sued to block the law final yr and has requested for a preliminary injunction that might give it a reprieve from the brand new guidelines till the case was resolved.

The corporate additionally faces hurdles in London, one in all its largest markets. In November, London authorities determined to not extend Uber’s taxi operating license due to persistent security issues. Uber continues to function there whereas it appeals the choice.

“Regulation of trip sharing is lastly catching up,” Mr. White stated. “These companies are wanting much less and fewer like these fully transformative, transportation-as-a-service fashions, and increasingly like tech-enabled taxi firms. You could have much more regulation, much more charges and much more oversight, which typically raises prices.”

It has not been all dangerous information for the corporate. A courtroom in Brazil ruled on Wednesday that Uber’s drivers couldn’t be thought of staff.

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