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Uber’s Ride-Hailing Business Slows, Losses Expand to $1 Billion

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May. 31 2019, Published 11:51 a.m. ET

Uber generated revenue of $3.1 billion, in line with estimates

Ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies (UBER) announced its first earnings as a public company on May 30.

The company posted a net loss of slightly over $1.0 billion in the first quarter of 2019 compared to a loss of $478 million in the same quarter last year. Uber generated $3.1 billion during the first quarter, a rise of 19.9% YoY (year-over-year).

The company said that its gross bookings, a measure of the strength of its business, rose 34.5% YoY to $14.65 billion. Uber had 93 million monthly active platform consumers, an increase of 33% YoY.

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Stiff competition has affected Uber’s bottom line

The company’s deep losses remain the primary concern for investors as Uber’s ability to reach profitability remains in doubt given stiff competition around the world. According to Uber, its sales and marketing costs surged 54% to $1.0 billion from the previous year’s quarter on the back of higher consumer promotions and advertising.

Another concern for investors is the company’s slowing core ride-hailing business. The business’s revenue rose only 9.0% YoY to $2.38 billion in the first quarter. In contrast, its ride-hailing business grew 33% in 2018 and 95% in 2017.

Uber is looking for other areas of growth. It envisions itself as a dominant force of all transportation at some point in the future. Its businesses already include the freight business, electric bikes, and scooters.

Uber stock fell 0.35% during the normal session on May 30 but rose 1.9% in after-hours trading. However, the stock is down nearly 12% from its IPO price of $45.

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