This was expected to be a slow week for corporate earnings after a long holiday weekend. Uber Technologies Inc. UBER, +2.57% decided to shake things up, though.
The ride-hailing service announced just a week ahead of time that it expects to report quarterly earnings for the first time since its monstrous initial public offering. Coming Thursday, that will be a closely watched report, as the stock has failed to trade higher than the $45 pricing level of its initial offering and has attracted short sellers. Shares closed Friday at $41.51.
Uber disclosed ahead of the IPO that it expected to lose at least $1 billion in the first quarter, with net revenue of $3.04 billion to $3.10 billion. In the year-ago quarter, Uber reported massive earnings of $3.75 billion on revenue of $2.58 billion, though that outsized profit was linked to the sale of some of its international operations, with a stated operational loss of about half a billion dollars in the year-ago quarter.
Uber’s losses will be monstrous, and it won’t even be because of the IPO. While stock-based compensation can cause huge GAAP losses after an IPO, the quarter Uber will report closed on March 31, well before the company’s stock sale. So Uber earned all the losses it will report on Thursday.
The most interesting number to look for in Uber’s maiden results is gross bookings, a metric that discloses all the money paid for Uber services, including the part that goes to drivers and other workers on the platform. Rival Lyft Inc. LYFT, -1.74% stopped providing that figure in its post-IPO earnings, instead just reporting net revenue collected by the company.
Uber said in its pre-IPO disclosure that it expected gross bookings of $14.44 billion to $14.66 billion, with about 78% of that total attributed to its ride-sharing platform and most of the rest coming from the Uber Eats food-delivery business. On Thursday, we will see if Uber lives up to that estimate or decides to join its rival in opting not to bother reporting it.