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Uber: Mobility Recovery Will Accelerate Next Quarter

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“The
mobility [business] recovery started to pick up pace in March and improved
further in April,” said Uber Technologies CEO Dara
Khosrowshahi during the ride hail company’s earnings call yesterday.
“With strong vaccination rates in several key markets, including the U.S.,
we’re optimistic that this trend should accelerate going forward.”

Uber’s
gross bookings grew 24 percent year over year to $19.5 billion. Gross bookings for
Uber’s mobility business, which includes ride-hailing services, amounted to
$6.8 billion, down 38 percent year over year. Uber’s delivery business grew 166
percent year over year to $12.5 billion and “continues to surpass growth
expectations,” according to Khosrowshahi.

Number
of total trips amounted to 1.5 billion, down 13 percent year over year. The
number of active monthly users stood at 98 million, down 5 percent year over
year. 

Uber
revenue totaled $2.9 billion, down 11 percent year over year. Mobility revenue
stood at $853 million, down 65 percent year over year. Delivery revenue reached
$1.7 billion, up 230 percent year over year.

Uber
expects rider demand to continue to outstrip driver
supply

in the second quarter. To improve driver supply, Uber will be increasing
incentives to attract drivers back to the road.

“In
several countries, including the U.S., we’ll continue to lean in with targeted
incentives for new and existing drivers to build up significant supply, which
will enable us to achieve maximum velocity as the recovery plays out,”
said Khosrowshahi.

Adjusted
EBITDA totaled $359 million, an improvement of $253 million year over year.
Mobility adjusted EBITDA reached $298 million, down $283 million year over year
but up $5 million quarter over quarter. Delivery adjusted EBITDA was $200
million, a $113 million year-over-year improvement. Net loss amounted to $108
million.

Uber
executives were asked to comment about the U.S. Department of Labor’s recent
withdrawal of the “Independent Contractor Rule,” handed down by the
Trump administration in January. The rule would have made it easier for gig
economy firms like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and others to keep workers categorized
as independent contractors, rather than full-status employees. Full-status
employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime compensation protections of
the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The
rule’s withdrawal in the U.S. does not result in reclassifying gig workers as
employees but could help lay a foundation for doing so. Uber is counting on
finding a middle ground, according to CFO Nelson Chai. “We think there’s
opportunity for dialogue that can ultimately lead to a solution that gives gig
workers the protection they deserve while preserving the innovation that gives
them the flexibility that they desire,” he said.
 

Doing
so will be key to keeping labor costs down, as evidenced by recent driver
classification issues for the company that are coming home to roost in the UK. Uber
reported a $600 million accrual hit to its mobility revenue for the resolution
of historical claims in that market since a UK Supreme Court
ruling

in March compelled the company to classify its drivers as ‘workers’ rather than
contractors. Excluding the UK accrual, mobility revenue would have been $1.5
billion, down 41 percent year over year and total revenue would have reached
$3.5 billion, up 8 percent year over year. 

RELATED:
Uber Q4 &
Full-Year Earnings

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