Investors finally got a chance to crack open the hood of Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER) on Thursday. The world's top ridesharing service posted its first-quarter results shortly after the market close. It's Uber's first financial update as a public company, but that's not much of a surprise since the stock only went public earlier this month.
Investors had a good handle on how the first three months of this year would play out. Uber's updated prospectus in May provided tight ranges for most of the financial metrics that matter for the fiscal period that ended weeks earlier. Uber landed at the high end for most of its quarterly results, but that's also not a shock. Uber was going to have a hard time regaining investor trust if it oversold its prospects fresh out of the gate, and by mid-May, it probably knew exactly where it was going to land.
Going for a ride
There are a lot of people leaning on Uber to get around and have meals delivered these days. There were 93 million monthly active platform consumers at the end of March, a 33% year-over-year gain and exactly where Uber said it would be earlier this month. Gross bookings soared 34% to hit $14.649 billion for the period, near the high-end of its forecast.
Revenue didn't grow as quickly -- rising 20%, to $3.099 billion, on a reported basis and 14%, to $2.761 billion, on an adjusted net basis -- but that was also near the best-case scenarios Uber posited earlier this month. Giving personal mobility drivers a bit more of the take and beefing up the incentives it dishes out on the Uber Eats end deflates the platform's growth if we judge it by its adjusted net revenue performance.
The bottom line is where the boo birds tend to flock when it comes to Uber, and naturally, there was plenty of red ink for the quarter. Uber posted a loss of $1.012 billion through the first three months of 2019, as its operating loss more than doubled and the adjusted EBITDA deficit more than tripled. It's hard to see a silver lining when we're eyeing a quarterly hole in the 10 figures, but once again, Uber landed at the more favorable end of its earlier forecast.
Uber is a global player, and that creates nuances in different markets. In China, Uber Eats is a more popular platform than Uber, and in Japan, it's the success of Uber Eats that's driving personal mobility higher by association. Growth isn't consistent across Europe, as Uber points out that it's having some challenges in Spain but doing really well in Germany as restrictions ease in the country. Latin America continues to be a mixed bag that remains primarily a cash market, something that poses security risks for its drivers.
Despite having no problem putting out its projections for the first quarter in its May prospectus, Uber did not issue guidance for the current quarter. It's upbeat about its future, but it's clear that losses will continue as it invests in its platform. Uber has consistently traded below its initial public offering (IPO) price of $45, making the lack of negative surprises in the report a relative victory.
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