Uber is (Virtually) Profitable for the First Time

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Uber is posting an operating profit for the first time in more than a decade. On a net basis, however, the company is still loss-making because its investment in a Chinese competitor is declining in value.

 

Uber has been the best-known provider of car rides as an alternative to the taxi sector for ten years. But the company has also been known all along as a cash burner that has never been profitable. That now seems to be turning for the first time.

In its last quarter, which ended at the end of September, the company achieved an Ebitda of $8 million. That’s less than the $25 to 75 million the company expected, but also much better than the $625 million loss in the same period a year ago. However, the market is disappointed because competitor Lyft has been operationally profitable for two quarters now. Although there is also no net profit to be found there, notes Reuters news agency.

Still, Uber posted a net loss of $2.4 billion this quarter. What is killing Uber is its interest in Chinese peer Didi. That company went public in June, but because China in the meantime opened an antitrust investigation into Didi, the market value of the company dropped by billions, forcing Uber to write off $2 billion itself. Other losses come from stock-based compensation, among other things.

At its core, Uber continues to grow and recover from the pandemic. Bookings grew 57 percent year-on-year, to $23.1 billion. Revenue itself grew 72 percent to $4.8 billion.

On the fringe, Uber also says meal deliveries, about 96 percent of the company’s deliveries, were profitable for the first time. For passenger transport, it says it has been able to attract 640,000 additional drivers worldwide since January. The company spent $250 million last quarter to attract people to drive around for the company.

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