Uber Technologies Inc.’s

UBER 4.83%

revenue climbed 83% in the last quarter of 2021, helped by a recovery in its rides business and continued demand for food delivery despite restaurant reopenings.

The company posted revenue of $5.78 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, beating the average estimate of $5.35 billion from analysts polled by FactSet. Its rides bookings rose by 67% year-over-year while its food-delivery bookings jumped 34% over the same period. Uber ended the quarter with 118 million active customers, a record for the company. Uber’s stock was up about 6% in after-hours trading Wednesday.

Uber has posted rare profits on the back of its investments in other companies, though it is yet to turn a profit on the strength of its operations alone. The company posted a profit of $892 million in the fourth quarter on the back of gains from its shares in Southeast Asia’s

Grab Holdings Inc.

GRAB 6.53%


Aurora Innovation Inc.

AUR -0.34%

Uber took a hit from its stake in Chinese ride-hailing giant

Didi Global Inc.

The quarter marked the second time that Uber posted adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization since its inception over a decade ago. The company has pointed to this metric to signal that its operations are moving toward future profitability.

Uber’s adjusted Ebitda of $86 million beat analysts’ average estimate of $67 million. Uber Eats, its delivery unit, posted its first profit by this measure in the quarter.

Uber forecast gross bookings for the first quarter of 2022 to be slightly below analysts’ estimates while also projecting a lower-than-expected adjusted earnings range. “Given the Omicron-related demand impacts, we expect mobility gross bookings to decline quarter-over-quarter, while delivery is likely to be flat to up modestly,” Chief Financial Officer

Nelson Chai

said in a call with analysts.

Your average Uber or Lyft ride cost 50% more this summer than before the pandemic. But prices were inching up even before lockdowns began. Here’s what drove rideshare prices through the roof, and how the companies are working to bring them back down. Composite photo: David Fang/WSJ

Rival Lyft Inc. forecast lower-than-expected revenue in the first quarter of 2022, saying it was accounting for uncertainty from the Omicron Covid-19 variant. Lyft’s fourth-quarter revenue grew 70% year-over-year, and the company posted record revenue per active rider, even though its active riders marginally dipped over the quarter compared with the previous quarter.

Riders are returning to Uber and Lyft faster than drivers. The labor shortage pushed prices for rides to all time-highs last year.

The number of trips taken on Uber’s platform came in below analysts’ estimates, but Uber still beat analysts’ revenue projection.

Youssef Squali,

an analyst covering Uber and Lyft at Truist Securities, wrote in a note to clients that this outcome suggests that “the top-line beat for Uber was driven by pricing rather than volume.”

While Uber hasn’t publicly released data on prices, the company said Wednesday that estimated wait times for riders had reverted to pre-pandemic levels across the U.S. It added that so-called surge rides, or trips that become more expensive when drivers are in short supply, currently make up 20% of New York City trips. More than half of trips taken in New York City were surging around the same time last year.


How has your usage of Uber or other ride-sharing apps changed during the pandemic? Join the conversation below.

Uber said it added 325,000 drivers and couriers to its platform in the fourth quarter, bringing the total number on its platform to 4.4 million globally. Chief Executive

Dara Khosrowshahi

told analysts, “We haven’t done a specific analysis of how many [more] earners” the company needs to alleviate the labor shortage. He added, however, that earner efficiency had gone up because ride-share drivers were now delivering food and vice versa.

The company’s full-year revenue in 2021 rose 57%. Uber trimmed its net loss to $496 million from a loss of $6.77 billion in 2020, helped by cost cuts and shedding money-losing businesses during the pandemic.

Uber said it expects its gross bookings—the total value of bookings made on its platform—to reach as much as $26 billion in the first quarter of 2022—compared with analysts’ estimates of $27.25 billion. The company said it expects adjusted earnings before tax, interest and other expenses between $100 million to $130 million for the same period, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $151 million.

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Write to Preetika Rana at [email protected]

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Appeared in the February 10, 2022, print edition as ‘Uber Revenue Rises 83% as Rides Jump.’

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