Uber revenue soars; Wall Street looks past $2.6 billion loss

Michelle Chapman and Michael Liedtke
Associated Press

Uber continued to build momentum in the second quarter with Americans heading back to offices and gross bookings hit an an all-time high as anxiety over COVID-19 eased.

Passengers took a total of 1.87 billion trips on Uber during the spring and early summer, a 24% increase compared with the same time last year. That’s about 21 million trips per day, on average.

Monthly active platform consumers climbed 21% from the prior-year period to 122 million.

Revenue at the San Francisco company more than doubled to $8.07 billion, bolstered by a change in the business model for its UK mobility business and the acquisition of Transplace by Uber Freight.

This beat the $7.36 billion that analysts polled by FactSet predicted.

The company had to navigate an extremely tight labor market that at times has left it short of drivers almost immediately as it emerged from the from the pandemic.

“Despite rising ride share prices throughout the US/Europe clearly consumers are still moving to the Uber platform especially as travel, shifting to the office, and other post pandemic trends take hold globally with Uber poised to benefit into 2023,” said Dan Ives, who follows Uber for Wedbush.

Gross bookings surged 33% to $29.08 billion, an all-time high and Uber Technologies Inc. foresees third-quarter gross bookings between $29 billion and $30 billion.

Wall Street overlooked a huge loss for the quarter and shares jumped nearly 13% before the opening bell Tuesday.

Uber lost $2.6 billion, or $1.33 per share, for the three months ended June 30. This included a $1.7 billion net headwind related to Uber’s equity investments, which was mostly related to the revaluation of its stakes in Aurora Innovation Inc., Grab Holdings Inc. and India’s food delivery company Zomato. The loss also included $470 million in stock-based compensation expense.

Industry analysts had projected a loss of only 27 cents per share.

Uber has regained a lot of ground since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 triggered government lockdowns that kept most people at home.

The company pivoted at the time by building up a then-nascent food-delivery division, although that segment isn’t growing as rapidly as last year with so many people returning to restaurants.