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Uber’s Net Loss Shrank, but Its Revenue Growth Is Slowing Quickly

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Feb. 20 2019, Published 11:13 a.m. ET

Uber made $3 billion in net revenue during the fourth quarter

SoftBank-backed (SFTBY) Uber, which is slated to go public later this year, announced its fourth-quarter earnings results on February 15.

The ride-hailing company reported net revenue of $3.0 billion for the quarter, a rise of 24% YoY (year-over-year). This marked a steep slowdown from the 38% YoY growth it reported in its third-quarter net revenue and the 63% YoY growth it reported in its second-quarter revenue. For the whole year, the ride-hailing giant generated $11.3 billion in net revenue, up 43% from 2017.

In the fourth quarter, Uber’s gross bookings, which is the amount it collects before paying its drivers, rose 37% YoY to $14.2 billion.

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Uber’s net losses shrank—but mostly due to a tax benefit

Uber’s net revenue growth has slowed partly because of the higher amount it pays to its drivers. Its ratio of net revenue to gross bookings has been falling, and it now stands at 21.3%. These figures exclude the impact of the windup of its activities in Russia and South East Asia.

Another issue Uber faces ahead of its much-anticipated IPO is that it hasn’t been able to rein in its losses. Uber reported a net loss of $865 million in the fourth quarter, which would have been as much as $1.2 billion if not for a tax benefit.

On an adjusted basis Uber posted a net loss of $768 million in the fourth quarter, better than the $939 million it lost during the third quarter.

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