Uber reports financials for the first time amid scandals, says growth outpaces losses

Hyacinth Mascarenhas
uber

Uber has opened up about its financials for the first time amid the whirlwind of controversies plaguing the ride-hailing firm in recent months. The company reports revenue growth is outpacing losses.

The privately-held company reported net revenue of $6.5bn (£5.2bn) in 2016 while its adjusted net losses totaled $2.8bn, excluding its former Chinese subsidiary, Uber China.

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Uber sold its China business to domestic rival Didi Chuxing in August last year.

According to newly released numbers published by Bloomberg, Uber said its gross bookings rose to $20bn in 2016, more than double the amount in 2015.

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"We're fortunate to have a healthy and growing business, giving us the room to make the changes we know are needed on management and accountability, our culture and organization, and our relationship with drivers," Rachel Holt, who runs Uber's US ride-hailing business, told Bloomberg.

Uber did not report its first-quarter numbers saying they were in line with expectations. The company noted it has not presented the numbers to investors yet.

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Uber reported gross bookings rose by 28% to $6.9bn in the last three months of 2016, up from the previous quarter. While the company garnered $2.9bn in revenue in the fourth quarter, a 74% jump from Q3, losses also swelled by 6.1% to a whopping $991m over the same period.

Currently valued at $69bn by investors, Uber has spent at least $8bn since it was founded back in 2009.

Although Uber is not required to reveal its financial results, the recent release of numbers marks the first time the firm has done so as it struggles to weather a series of scandals in the past few months.

In January, Uber was hit with protests over CEO Travis Kalanick's position on President Trump's economic advisory council, accusations of strike breaking New York City taxi drivers' protest against Trump's immigration ban and a damaging #DeleteUber campaign that cost the company thousands of users.

In February, a former engineer's chilling account, alleging systemic sexual harassment and sexism at the company prompted an independent investigation led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder. Uber was also slapped with a high-profile lawsuit by Alphabet's Waymo over alleged theft of self-driving technology

The ride-hailing company admitted to using a secret program called Greyball to deceive law enforcement officials. Meanwhile, Kalanick apologised after an embarassing video emerged showing him berating an Uber driver over fares.

Uber is currently looking for a new chief operating officer to help Kalanick run the company.

Earlier this week, reports emerged that the Uber has been using software Hell to secretly monitor the locations and habits of drivers working for rival company Lyft.

Over the past few months, the company has also been hit with a slew of executive departures, including its president Jeff Jones, vice president of product and growth Ed Baker, top security researcher Charlie Miller, vice president of product and growth Ed Baker, vice president of maps Brian McClendon and more recently, its PR head Rachel Whetstone.

Earlier this month, Uber was accused of short-changing its drivers and customers in the US.

Last month, Uber executives promised to "fundamentally change" its toxic culture and get the company back on track.

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