Uber Unveils IPO With Warning It May Never Make A Profit

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Uber Technologies Inc has 91 million users, but growth is slowing and it may never make a profit, the ride-hailing company said on Thursday in its IPO filing.

The document gave the first comprehensive financial picture of the decade-old company which was started after its founders struggled to get a cab on a snowy night and has changed the way much of the world travels.

The S-1 filing underscores Uber’s rapid growth in the last three years but also how a string of public scandals and increased competition from rivals have weighed on its plans to attract and retain riders.

The disclosure also highlighted how far Uber remains from turning a profit, with the company cautioning it expects operating expenses to “increase significantly in the foreseeable future” and it “may not achieve profitability.”

Uber lost $3.03 billion in 2018 from operations.

The filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed Uber had 91 million average monthly active users on its platforms, including for ride-hailing and Uber Eats, at the end of 2018. This is up 33.8 percent from 2017, but growth slowed from 51 percent a year earlier.

Uber had not disclosed the latest user numbers before, and the figure indicates the scale of the business. Although its user base includes customers of other services and ride-sharing, the number is nearly five times the 18.6 million announced by rival Lyft Inc.

Uber in 2018 had $11.3 billion revenue, up around 42 percent over 2017, but below the 106 percent growth the prior year. Uber set a placeholder amount of $1 billion but did not specify the size of the IPO. Reuters reported this week that Uber plans to sell around $10 billion worth of stock at a valuation of between $90 billion and $100 billion.

Investment bankers had previously told Uber it could be worth as much as $120 billion. Uber would be the largest initial public offering since that of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in 2014, which raised $25 billion.

Although Uber is no longer targeting a $120 billion valuation in the IPO, some stock bonuses to Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi and other company executives are only triggered when that valuation is reached.

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