Uber posts $50bn in annual bookings

16th February, 2019 09:14:25 printer

SAN FRANCISCO: Uber Technologies Inc had US$50 billion in total bookings for its ride-service and food-delivery businesses last year, a testament to the size and global reach of the company as it prepares to woo investors in one of the biggest public stock listings to date.

But figures released by the company on Friday showed revenue grew just 2 percent in the fourth quarter, a sign that Uber continues to heavily subsidize rides in competitive markets, raising questions about its future growth prospects, report agencies.

Uber's full-year revenue for 2018 was US$11.3 billion, up 43 percent from the prior year. Its losses before taxes, depreciation and other expenses were US$1.8 billion, an improvement over the US$2.2 billion loss posted in 2017.

Uber highlighted the annual bookings figure, which was up 45 percent over 2017, in its release on Friday of a smattering of selected figures for its fourth-quarter and full-year results, a practice it has had for the last several quarters as it anticipated going public. The full-year figures are particularly important to show potential investors the trajectory of the business, as opposed to Uber's more erratic quarterly results.

Uber in December filed confidentially for an initial public offering, which may come as early as the second quarter this year. It is racing neck-and-neck with rival Lyft to become the first ride-hailing IPO.

"Last year was our strongest yet, and Q4 set another record," Uber Chief Financial Officer Nelson Chai said in a statement.

Uber said gross bookings for the fourth quarter were a record US$14.2 billion, up 11 percent from the prior quarter. That marks an improvement after bookings growth slowed to just single-digit percentages throughout much of last year.

Uber's revenue in the fourth quarter reached US$3 billion, up 2 percent from the third quarter and a 24 percent increase over the previous year. The food-delivery service, Uber Eats, accounts for more than US$2.5 billion in bookings quarterly, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.