Uber says growth strong as it gives a peek at earnings

Uber said it was "fortunate" to see revenue growth outpace losses in 2016 and that the company is still performing well this year amid controversies. The company shared financial data with Bloomberg, which shows the company is generating revenue but also losing money.

Though it isn't required to report its financial health since it is not a public company, Uber said past year gross bookings doubled to $20 billion after jumping 28% in the final three months of 2016 to $6.9 billion.

As a privately-held company, Uber is not required to share its financials publicly, the way a company like Microsoft or Amazon does on a quarterly basis.

In the fourth quarter, Uber both increased its bookings and upped its losses, according to the report. But Uber's losses grew to $US991 million in the period, as revenues grew 74 per cent to $US2.9 billion from the third quarter. Uber generated $2.9 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter alone.

Uber lost about $1 billion in China, according to Bloomberg and other sources, which adds up to an approximate net loss of $3.8 billion in 2016. The loss statement doesn't account for employee stock compensation, certain real estate investments, automobile purchases and other expenses.

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Using the figure of $3.8 billion as a loss, Uber had a profit margin during 2016 of -58.5%.

Uber is in the process of hiring a second-in-command for chief Travis Kalanick, who remains in the driver's seat as the company tries to plot a friendlier course with workers, riders and drivers.

Kalanick, known for taking a hard line in battles with regulators and taxi operators, has been humbled by recent events which included the release of a dashcam video showing him berating and cursing at one of Uber's drivers. This would seem to substantiate multiple reports a year ago claiming that Uber's losses were mounting and could exceed $3 billion.

Included in its revenue figures is the portion Uber takes in fares with exception of its carpool service, in which it counts the entire amount of those fares as revenue.

Since it was founded in 2009, Uber has burned through at least $8 billion. "It's going to be a case study", said Aswath Damodaran, a finance professor at New York University.

  • Darren Santiago