Uber has recorded its first ever cash flow-positive quarter, after burning through $25bn since its founding 13 years ago in the rush towards global expansion.
The lossmaking Silicon Valley group, which has relied on heavily-subsidised rides to upend the taxi industry worldwide, said it generated free cash flow of $382mn in the three months to the end of June.
That is significantly higher than the $109mn analysts had been predicting, according to data from S&P Capital IQ. Free cash flow is defined as cash flow from operations minus capital expenditure.
“This marks a new phase for Uber, self-funding future growth with disciplined capital allocation, while maximising long-term returns for shareholders,” said Uber’s chief financial officer Nelson Chai.
Earlier this year, the company said it would rein in spending in order to meet the goal of being free cash flow positive by the end of 2022. That included reducing driver incentives and slowing corporate hiring.
The company still posted a quarterly net loss of $2.6bn, of which $1.7bn was attributable to poorly performing investments, including its shares in self-driving company Aurora, Singapore-based app Grab and Indian delivery app Zomato.
Chai said Uber’s income would “see swings from quarter to quarter due to the large size of equity stakes on our balance sheet”.
“While we intend to monetise some of our stakes at an appropriate time, we have sufficient liquidity to give us the flexibility to maintain all of these positions, with the aim of maximising value for Uber and our shareholders.”
The net loss was worse than analysts’ estimates, but Uber’s results comfortably beat analysts’ expectations on other key measures. Overall revenue was $8.1bn, up 105 per cent year-on-year. Analysts had been expecting $7.37bn.