Uber's losses ballooned to $4.5bn in tumultuous year

Uber's losses ballooned to $4.5bn in tumultuous year

Ride-hailing giant Uber's full-year net loss widened to $US4.5 billion ($5.7 million) in 2017 as the company endured a tumultuous year that included multiple scandals, a lawsuit alleging the theft of trade secrets and the replacement of its chief executive.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, whose company just stared down that same question late past year as it negotiated a high-stakes deal with the $100 billion fund, gave voice to that intellectual exercise today as he offered an overview of his business to Goldman Sachs clients and investors.

The full-year loss grew from $US2.8 billion in 2016, a year with results skewed by a gain from the sale of Uber's unprofitable business in China. Khosrowshahi said on the investor call that UberEats had reached a $4 billion gross revenue run-rate in the fourth quarter, which means food delivery will represent about 10 percent of Uber's business.

Despite a turbulent year for the ride-hailing company, sales were $7.5 billion. Under Kalanick, Uber had run roughshod over regulators, faced accusations of rampant sexual harassment, and allegedly obtained medical records of a woman in who said an Uber driver in India had raped her (Uber recently settled a US lawsuit that the woman had filed against the company).

While the losses are significant, the results still are positive for Uber with revenue rising and losses falling in three of four quarters in 2017, said Rohit Kulkarni, managing director of SharesPost, a research group focused on privately held companies.

"It looked messy and it was..." The fourth-quarter adjusted loss was $475 million, down from $606 million to in the third quarter.

The legal battle between Google's Waymo and ride-hailing company Uber aroused when Waymo put allegations of stealing their self-driving technology secrets by Uber in order to first introduce the self-driving technology developed cars in the market to the masses. According to Crunchbase, Uber is considering going public in 2019.

"We're a publicly reporting private company - go figure", Khosrowshahi said. "I want you to be able to take an Uber and get into the subway - if the trains are running on time, you've got real-time data - get in the subway, get out and have an Uber waiting for you for right now".

Last week, the company said it would pay 245 million United States dollars in shares of Waymo, the Alphabet self-governing unit, to end its litigation in connection with the charge of stealing trade secrets.

Khosrowshahi began reigning in costs after he took over as Uber chief late previous year, replacing ousted co-founder Travis Kalanick.