Uber warns it may ‘never make a profit’ as it prepares for $100bn stock market listing

App reveals it has lost $8bn since it was founded and that its rapid growth is slowing

Ben Chapman@b_c_chapman
Friday 12 April 2019 09:29
Uber protesters leave burning car blocking entrance to tourism fair in Madrid

Uber has warned it “may not achieve profitability” as it unveiled billions of dollars of losses ahead of a planned stock market floatation.

The ride-hailing app is targeting a $100bn (£76bn) valuation despite losing $3bn last year and $8bn over its 10-year existence. Uber said it expects operating expenses to “increase significantly in the foreseeable future” as it continues its expansion.

In a filing with US regulators that revealed its financial health for the first time, Uber also said that its rapid growth has recently slowed.

The company had 91 million average monthly users across its platforms, including food-delivery app Uber Eats at the end of 2018 but growth slowed to 33.8 per cent from 51 per cent a year earlier.

Those users generated sales of $11.3bn last year, 42 per cent higher than in 2017.

Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in a letter: “Over the past 18 months, we have improved our governance and board oversight; built a stronger and more cohesive management team; and made the changes necessary to ensure our company culture rewards teamwork and encourages employees to commit for the long term.”

Uber has come up against increasing resistance from local taxi operators and regulators around the world, and faced a number of scandals and legal hurdles that have the potential to drag on its future growth.

In the UK it has been locked in a legal fight over whether its drivers should be classified as workers employed by the company or self-employed people who are not entitled to rights such as holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the minimum wage.

Uber drivers protest on the first day of Uber’s Court of Appeal case

Uber’s blockbuster listing on the New York Stock Exchange is expected to raise about $10bn to help fund further expansion.

Its closest rival, Lyft, listed its shares at the end of March but has seen its valuation crash 15 per cent since then, suggesting investors’ appetite for risky, loss-making technology firms may be drying up.

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