Uber Technologies Inc. announced a quarterly loss of nearly $3 billion Thursday afternoon, including a write-down of more than $2 billion related to its investments in Asian partners, as the ride-hailing industry suffers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
reported a first-quarter loss of $2.94 billion, or $1.70 a share, compared with a loss of $1.01 billion in the year-ago period. Revenue swelled 14% to $3.54 billion from $3.1 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated a loss of 84 cents a share on revenue of $3.55 billion on average.
The company took a $2.1 billion impairment write-down, which it said was “primarily related to our investment in Didi and the credit loss allowance recorded on our investment in Grab.” Uber exited its operations in parts of Asia in exchange for stakes in those two Asian ride-hailing companies.
“While our Rides business has been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic, we have taken quick action to preserve the strength of our balance sheet, focus additional resources on Uber Eats, and prepare us for any recovery scenario,” Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement announcing the results.
The coronavirus pandemic all but extinguished rides bookings in April, leading to an 80% drop, though Uber has seen recent increases in bookings in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and elsewhere, he added in a conference call with analysts late Thursday. Additionally, Uber Eats’ gross bookings surged 52% to $4.7 billion in the first quarter.
The first-quarter results, announced after the market’s close Thursday, initially sent Uber shares down 3% in after-hours trading but they soon recovered and swung into positive territory — up 9.5%.
The large quarterly loss may be the least of the ride-hailing giant’s worries in the coronavirus pandemic, amid the imminent departure of its chief technology officer and a 14% reduction of its workforce that may only be a start. CTO Thuan Pham is leaving May 16 for unspecified reasons, according to a regulatory filing on April 24, another in a string of executive departures since Khosrowshahi took over as CEO. To compound matters, Uber’s said it was paring 3,700 jobs in a regulatory filing on Wednesday to slash costs.
Khosrowshahi said during the conference call that Uber hoped to slash $1 billion in annual costs.
The industrywide slump could accelerate in the second quarter, Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives warned in an April 29 note, with Uber particularly vulnerable because of its exposure in Europe and Asia. He anticipated a 41% dive in revenue, year-over-year, in Uber’s first quarter.
On Wednesday, ride-hailing rival Lyft Inc.
reported better-than-expected revenue and thinning losses for its first fiscal quarter. It lost $398.1 million, or $1.31 a share, compared with a loss of $1.14 billion, or $48.53 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue climbed 23% to $955.7 million from $776 million a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected a loss of 62 cents a share on sales of $882 million.
Uber’s saving grace in this time may be its food-delivery business, which competes with GrubHub Inc.
and startups such as PostMates and DoorDash. A day after GrubHub reported record quarterly revenue, Uber said that revenue from its Uber Eats business jumped more than 50% in the quarter, to $819 million from $536 million a year ago, as a larger percentage of riders use the food-delivery service.
As Lyft did earlier Thursday, Uber executives briefly outlined health and safety measures they were undertaking to ease the concerns of riders and drivers. Both ride-hailing services discussed the use of masks by both parties and thorough cleaning of vehicles.
Uber stock is up 4% this year, while the S&P 500 index
has declined 10.8%.