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Uber to take $3 billion loss on Didi after China crackdown

Uber Technologies Inc. is poised to record a loss of more than $3 billion on its stake in Didi Global Inc., wiping out the $1.4 billion it made after the Chinese ride-hailing giant went public in June. 

Since pulling off one of the biggest U.S. stock market debuts of the past decade, Didi’s U.S.-traded shares have plummeted 41% since Chinese regulators ordered the app to be removed from online stores in its home market, citing privacy and security risks. The tumult has whittled the value of Uber’s roughly 12% stake in its former rival down to about $4 billion at the end of the third quarter from $7.3 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations. 

Didi is still the most valuable equity stake in Uber’s portfolio of investments, which was valued at nearly $15 billion at the end of the second quarter. It also wasn’t the last to go public. In July, online food delivery startup Zomato Ltd. listed its shares in India, fetching a valuation of 910 million rupees ($12.2 billion). The IPO increased the value of Uber’s 9% stake to $1 billion from $100 million at the end of the second quarter.  

Though the fluctuations in Didi and Zomato are only paper gains and losses, Uber’s other stakes, including Grab Holdings Inc., Aurora and Joby Aviation LLC, have also taken steps to go public and could spell more volatility for Uber’s finances. 

Investors may shrug off the large Didi writedown and focus instead on Uber’s business prospects when the San Francisco-based company reports financial results on Thursday. “There’s going to be more intrigue about driver supply and relative growth rate of ridership,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Brad Erickson. 

Ride-hailing was among the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic as people shunned activities that involved coming in close proximity with strangers. But rising vaccination rates and the economy’s reopening are re-igniting rider demand. Lyft Inc. reported its financial results earlier this week, posting a 73% increase in revenue in the third quarter. The company said it was seeing a rise in airport rides and weekend and evening trips —  a sign that customers are resuming their pre-pandemic habits.

At Uber, gross bookings are expected to reach $23.3 billion in the third quarter, with ride-hailing increasing to $10.1 billion, narrowing the gap with bookings from food delivery orders, which overtook ride sales at the onset of the pandemic. 

Revenue is projected to be $4.4 billion, according to an average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. 

Analysts are predicting $2.1 billion of revenue from rides and $1.9 billion from delivery, which includes Uber Eats. If Uber meets expectations, it will be the first time since the start of Covid-19 that ride-share comprises the majority of its overall revenue.

Uber is still losing money on delivery orders, and a rebound in the higher-margin ride-hailing segment would help it get closer to achieving profitability. Analysts expect a loss before interest, tax and other expenses of $15.4 million. The company raised its forecast in September, signaling adjusted profits would range from a loss of $25 million to a profit of $25 million. 

However, even at the high end of its estimate, Uber still trails Lyft, which reported an adjusted profit of $67.3 million on Tuesday.  

 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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