Business & Economy

Uber loses $2.9 bn as demand for rides falls

San Francisco, May 7 (efe-epa).- Uber Technologies, Inc. said Thursday that it lost $2.95 billion in the first quarter, triple the negative result during the same period in 2019, as its core ride-hailing business suffered amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

Revenue actually rose by more than $500 million compared with Q1 last year, but Uber had to contend with higher costs due to the pandemic.

The San Francisco-based giant also posted $2.1 billion in impairment charges as a consequence of stakes it holds in other companies.

The numbers translate to a loss of $1.70 per share.

The presentation of the first-quarter results followed Uber’s announcement Wednesday of the layoff of 3,700 employees, amounting to around 14 percent of its workforce, and the news that CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will forgo his roughly $1 million base salary for the balance of this year.

Bookings for rides were down 5 percent in January-March from the first quarter of 2019, but plummeted 80 percent in early April before beginning to rebound three weeks ago, Khosrowshahi said Thursday in a conference call with analysts and the media.

And the flip side in the drop in demand for rides was a 52 percent increase in orders for the firm’s food-delivery unit, Uber Eats.

Uber Freight saw its businesses soar 55 percent compared with Q1 last year.

The number of active monthly users of Uber Rides climbed 11 percent to 103 million over the 12 months ending March 31 and the volume of rides rose 7 percent to 1.65 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

Almost all of that growth, however, took place in January and February, before the United States became the global epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“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,” Khosrowshahi said.

Uber’s less than stellar results seemed to leave investors unfazed, as the company’s share price jumped 9.15 percent to $34.17 in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Stock Exchange. EFE

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