Earnings

Uber Reports Boost In Bookings, Smaller Losses For Second Quarter

Uber has reported a 16 percent increase in quarterly bookings—and a smaller loss than the previous period—as the company showed signs of inching toward profitability.

While it is not required to publicly report its financial results as a private company, earlier this year it began offering a glimpse into its performance by disclosing certain numbers. Still, executives have declined to offer a timetable for profitability.

Reuters reported that Uber lost $645 million in the second quarter, 9 percent less than the $708-million loss in the first quarter and 35 percent less than the $991 million loss in the fourth quarter of last year. For all of 2016, the company lost about $3 billion.

Uber also revealed that its gross ride bookings for the second quarter reached $8.7 billion, up from $7.5 billion in the first quarter. The number of global trips increased 150 percent over the previous year, with growth strongest in developing markets.

The continued growth in ridership suggests Uber’s core business has so far managed to handle a slew of scandals, including allegations of sexual harassment, a lawsuit alleging trade-secrets theft and a federal criminal probe over its use of software to evade city regulators.

In addition, Benchmark, Uber’s biggest investor, is embroiled in a board battle with the ride-sharing company’s former CEO Travis Kalanick, filing a lawsuit to eliminate three board seats which were added when he still held the position.

In addition, some investors are skeptical of Uber’s $68-billion valuation, and four mutual fund investors disclosed this week that they had marked down the value of their Uber shares by as much as 15 percent. Uber has raised more than $15 billion from investors since 2010, allowing it to operate at a significant loss. The company said it has $6.6 billion in the bank, down from about $7.2 billion in the first quarter.

Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research, warned that Uber’s reporting is selective and excludes parts of the business’ financial model that may show the company in a less-favorable light. “There’s clearly growth in the numbers reported by Uber here,” he said, but they should be taken “with a big pinch of salt.”

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