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Uber lets public look under the hood at financial data for first time

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Uber’s corporate culture has been under fire. But the company is focusing on a different message for investors and employees: business is soaring.

The ride-hailing service said on Friday that its gross bookings – or the amount of money it garnered from providing rides, excluding costs – rose to $US20 billion ($26 billion) in 2016, double the amount in 2015. Net revenue, or the amount of money Uber makes from rides after its drivers are paid, totalled $US6.5 billion.

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Even as Uber continues to grow, spending remains brisk, and the company is not making money.

Last year, its adjusted net loss totalled $US2.8 billion, excluding the cost of its Chinese subsidiary, Uber China. Uber, which is privately held, spent billions of dollars developing its operations in China before selling them to Chinese rival Didi Chuxing last year.

Uber made the figures public on Friday as it grappled with questions about its workplace and negative consumer sentiment. Uber made the figures public on Friday as it grappled with questions about its workplace and negative consumer sentiment. Photo: supplied

The release of the numbers, which were reported earlier by Bloomberg and confirmed by Uber, is the first time Uber has allowed a public peek into its financial data.

Some information about its financial performance has leaked in the past, and the company discloses numbers quarterly to employees and some investors. But Uber made the figures public on Friday as it grappled with questions about its workplace and negative consumer sentiment.

In February, a former employee published a blog post detailing what she said was a history of sexual harassment at Uber, setting off a firestorm about its corporate culture. Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, is under scrutiny for setting the tone.

Uber did not disclose its numbers for this year’s first quarter, but it told Bloomberg they were in line with those at the end of 2016. Uber had roughly 128 million monthly users in the first quarter of 2017, according to estimates from Apptopia, an app analytics company.

Uber also said it had spent more than $US8 billion since it was founded in 2009, a reflection of the cost of subsidies and driver recruitment efforts it had undertaken to expand.

The company’s cash reserves are substantial.

Uber, which has regularly raised money from venture capital firms and increasingly from large institutional investors like Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, said it still holds $US7 billion in cash, with a $US2.3 billion credit facility it has not tapped. The company, which is based in San Francisco, is valued at nearly $US70 billion.

New York Times

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