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Picking up passengers at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Uber’s financial success have been a measure of wider economic health and travel demand throughout the epidemic. Credit… The New York Times’ Gabby Jones
Uber reported solid growth in its ride-hailing and delivery services on Wednesday, saying it was still recovering from a global fall, despite losing $5.6 billion on investments in other ride-sharing startups, particularly Didi in China.
The business reported $6.9 billion in sales for the first three months of 2022, above analysts’ estimates and increasing by 136% over the same period last year, when Covid vaccinations were scarce and people were not traveling as much. Uber also said that it recorded 1.7 billion rides and had 115 million monthly users during the quarter, up 18 percent and 17 percent year over year, respectively.
Uber’s financial performance have been an indication of overall economic health and travel demand throughout the pandemic, with lower quarters matching to surges in coronavirus cases and increasing lockdowns, and better quarters suggesting times of relative normality.
“People have returned to Uber as they’ve returned to workplaces, restaurants, bars, stadiums, and airports throughout the globe,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s CEO, in prepared comments to investors. “Our data make apparent that we are emerging on a good road out of the epidemic,” he continued.
Uber’s investments in other ride-sharing companies throughout the globe, though, continue to hurt the company’s bottom line. Changes in the value of other firms in which it has an interest accounted for $5.6 billion of its roughly $6 billion in losses. Since going public last year, Didi’s valuation has plunged.
Despite a slowdown at the start of the quarter due to the Omicron variant, Uber’s ride-hailing company climbed about 200 percent, and Uber’s food-delivery business rose 12 percent, despite the fact that consumers have mainly returned to restaurants and grocery shops.
Uber stated it was getting closer to profitability, despite the fact that it was still losing money. Uber had another successful quarter, as its free cash flow reached break-even point, excluding key costs like stock compensation and the Didi losses.
Uber and Lyft drivers demanded rate increases at a petrol station in New York in March to help offset the increased expense of keeping vehicles on the road. Credit… Associated Press/Brittainy Newman
High gas costs in recent months, owing in part to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have made it increasingly difficult to earn a living driving for Uber and other gig economy firms like Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart, according to Uber drivers. Some have said that they are reducing their hours or leaving the site. And, like other gig economy businesses, Uber’s stock has lost more than 30% of its value since the beginning of the year.
Uber reacted in March by charging clients a modest fuel cost for each journey, which went to drivers, and said on Wednesday that it had more drivers on its platform than at any time since the outbreak started.
That optimism — and its upbeat outlook for the coming quarter — contrasted sharply with Lyft, which reported financial results on Tuesday and saw its stock plummet 25% in after-hours trading after company executives said on an earnings call that they were still struggling to persuade drivers to return to the platform and would be spending more money to do so.
Uber’s stock dropped with Lyft’s, and Uber said immediately after that it would post its financial results hours earlier than scheduled on Wednesday, ostensibly to separate its findings from Lyft’s and avoid a stock decline when the market opened later that morning. In pre-market trade, however, Uber’s shares was down roughly 8%.
Mr. Khosrowshahi acknowledged in a call with investors on Wednesday that Uber needs to continue to grow the number of drivers on its network. However, he presented a positive image of Uber’s business by pointing to prospective development areas such as the company’s collaborations with taxi firms and investments in the freight sector.
“There’s a lot of work ahead of us,” he said of the driver supply, adding that Uber was “beginning to demonstrate separation versus our competition.”
Despite the fact that Lyft’s active driver count increased by 40% in the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year, the company’s CEO, Logan Green, also said that drivers “signed off” during Omicron and had yet to return in sufficient numbers to satisfy recovering demand.
Lyft reported higher-than-expected revenue of $876 million, up 44 percent from the first quarter of 2021, and a net loss of $197 million, down 54 percent from the previous year. The firm claimed 17.8 million active riders, up from 13.5 million at the start of the year but down from over 19 million at the end of 2021.
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