Uber news: Taxi app announces profits and new partnerships- but how well is it really doin | City & Business | Finance

According to the company, bookings surged 57 percent year on year reaching an all-time high of $23.1bn (£17.18bn) despite previous warnings of a driver shortage.

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, said “our early and decisive investments in driver growth are still paying dividends, with drivers steadily returning to the platform, leading to further improvement in the consumer experience.”

Growth was seen across both its driving business and food and grocery delivery services.

AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould explained Uber’s strategy was essentially a “land grab” to win its target markets now in the hope of making a profit in the future.

He said: “With interest rates at rock bottom and returns on cash and bonds at near zero, investors are currently quite happy to support such a proposition, especially since Uber has $7 billion in cash at hand and continue to sustain losses in pursuit of this strategy for some time to come.”

“Were interest rates to be a lot higher and returns on cash a lot better, you wonder whether they would be quite so willing to take the chance.”

He also cautioned the reporting of Uber’s profits which excludes a lot of costs typically seen as legitimate business costs such as tax and interest.

On strictly net profits Uber in fact reported a loss of $2.4bn (£1.78) largely due to its investment in its Chinese equivalent Didi.

Uber previously sold its operations in China to Didi in return for a stake in the company however Didi has suffered from increasing crackdowns on big tech firms by the Chinese government which have seen stock prices tumble.

In the run-up to its results, Uber announced a number of new collaborations in a bid to increase its consumer offering.

Describing Uber as navigating a “spaghetti junction” Senior Investment and Markets Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Susannah Streeter said: “We got updates from the company about its plans to capitalise on the reopening of the travel industry with new features for pick-ups at airports, plus progress on tie-ups with supermarket groups and retailers in countries like Taiwan, France and Australia.

“The expansion of Drizly, the North American alcohol delivery service will be one to watch.”

Just in the UK Uber has announced two new tie-ups this week working with familiar brands.

Partnering with Currys Uber will be running a trial delivering tech items such as headphones, printer cartridges and phone chargers via an app or the Currys website.

The trial will run for three months from 15th November to customers in London.

Uber’s existing delivery services of takeaways and groceries became a major part of the company’s business during the pandemic with bookings growing 46 percent year on year.

However, Mr Russ Mould commented: “Whether there is quite the same demand for this type of service when it comes to electrical goods is an open question.”

In another tie-up this week Uber also announced it had agreed a deal with Tesla to allow its drivers to access funding towards buying or leasing an electric vehicle.

Drivers will be able to access typically around £3,000 to £4,000 towards the cost funded by a 15p per mile Clean Air fee Uber has applied to trips since 2019.

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Currently, Uber drivers can use the scheme towards Nissan, Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

Jamie Heywood, Uber’s general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, said: “Uber drivers are switching to electric vehicles at a much faster rate than the mass market, thanks to the lower running costs and greater earning potential of driving in an EV.”

Another area to keep an eye on as Uber expands is driverless cars with the company investing $400m (£297.23m) in self-driving technology company Aurora.

Ms Streeter noted this may prove a more significant tie-up than Tesla noting it could “accelerate Uber’s plan to bring in self-drive cars to try and reduce the cost and headache of human labour, particularly given the legal wrangling it has been involved in, in parts of the world, over drivers’ rights and working conditions.”



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