Wednesday, 21 August, 2019

Uber reports $5.2 bn loss in Q2 as growth falls

Uber, losing billions, freezes engineering hires Uber freezes hiring of US tech staff, seeks to cut costs
Russell Knight | 11 August, 2019, 12:00

Uber (NYSE:UBER) CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tells CNBC that this quarter's whopping $5.2B loss (largely from stock-based compensation) was a "once-in-a-lifetime" hit during a "peak investment year".

The earnings of Uber release comes a day after an opponent Lyft improved its 2019 outlook, in spite of a projected loss of nearly $1 billion. The mounting losses come as Uber continues to invest in freight shipping, meal deliveries and offering discounts for its core ride-hailing business to attract new customers and compete with companies like Lyft.

Shares of Uber Inc fell 10% in early trading on Friday after the ride-hailing service missed most Wall Street targets in its quarterly earnings report, in sharp contrast to upbeat numbers from USA rival Lyft Inc a day earlier.

"There's the meme [going] around, which is, can Uber ever be profitable?"

Uber Technologies Inc. said it instituted a hiring freeze for employees working on software and services across the United States and Canada, as the ride-hailing company faces mounting losses. The business had revenue of $3.17 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.39 billion. On top of the widening losses, Uber reported a marginally 14% increase in revenue year-over-year. Uber Eats, its meal delivery service, continues to be a bright spot, with revenue growing 72% from the prior year. Uber Eats accounted for Dollars 3.39 Billion for the overall gross bookings.

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Shares of Uber fell by as much as 12% in after hours trading Thursday following the disappointing earnings report, before rebounding somewhat. Along with the hiring freeze, the moves suggest Uber is being more cautious about headcount after years of rapid growth.

The biggest negative is Uber has a lower return on invested capital from its worldwide strategy than rival Lyft does from its domestic push. This was one of the reasons contributing to the company's $5.2 billion net loss for the April to June quarter, analysts noted, adding that Uber had taken a similar hit the previous quarter too when it had posted a Dollars 1 billion net loss.

"Near term, bears pointing to the "chicken and the egg" problem (profits or growth?) - may carry the day. but we like bulls' chances longer term as they took another step on the path to profitability", Evercore analysts said.

Uber Technologies (NYSE:UBER) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, August 8th. In an email to staff, Khosrowshahi said: "There's a general sense that while we've grown fast, we've slowed down".

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