Uber’s Fourth Quarter Financials Are Out, Here’s What We’re Seeing

Morning Markets: Uber’s Q4 numbers are live. Let’s figure out what we can.

Today Uber reported its Q4 financial results this morning. TechCrunch has a solid rundown of the big numbers (more from CNBC here, FT here, and WSJ here), so let’s take the figures and talk ourselves through them. Recall that when Uber reported its third-quarter financial results we cited slowing growth and persistently high losses as the takeaways.

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Uber’s fourth quarter was much the same. The company’s revenue grew a slim 2.3 percent from the third quarter of 2018 to the fourth, rising from $2.95 billion to $3.02 billion. From the second quarter of 2018 to the third, Uber managed a roughly 5 percent revenue gain quarter-over-quarter; the deceleration is real, it seems.

(Dear Uber: would be a great place to send your Q1 2019 results this April if you aren’t public by then! Thanks!)

Uber’s Q4 revenue result was up around 25 percent from its year-ago $2.4 billion figure. In that year-ago quarter the ride-hailing giant’s revenue grew 12 percent from the sequentially-preceding quarter. A year later, Uber’s growth rate landed at around a sixth of that pace.

Alright, Uber is slowing down. Is it losing less money at the same time?

Slowing Growth, Stiff Losses

Not really.

While Uber’s growth is slowing, the company’s losses aren’t. Coverage of the company’s financial results out today detail a host of profit metrics, but we’ll stick with net income-related results as they are a bit harder to mold.

Uber’s net loss also fell from $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017 to a far slimmer $865 million during 2018’s matching period. However, without a tax benefit, Uber’s net loss was a far steeper $1.2 billion in 2018’s Q4, up from the year-ago result.

That seems a bit yucky, so let’s talk about cash usage. Uber’s up-or-down net loss pace was coupled to an operating cash burn of nearly $650 million in the quarter. That feels high. Looking for the positive, Uber has plenty of cash, and it will likely raise more in its IPO. (TC has the cash figures here.)

Let’s Go Public?

All this matters more than usual due to Uber’s impending IPO. The company’s race with rival ride-hailing service Lyft is spilling into public view as both companies pursue a public offering. There’s reason to believe that each wants to get out first. So what we are seeing from Uber today we’ll likely see again in an S-1.

That means that these results are likely relevant to Uber’s IPO hopes. The public offering will likely be the most watched debut since Facebook’s own.

You have to score Uber’s results yourself, but how the company will convince investors that it has strong growth ahead and a path to, at least, sub -$500 million quarterly EBITDA will be interesting.

Top Image Credit: Li-Anne Dias.

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