Uber continues its recovery from the pandemic lull, but loses $ 5.6 billion in investments.

Uber on Wednesday reported strong growth in its transportation and delivery businesses and said it was continuing to recover from a pandemic crisis, even as it lost $ 5.6 billion due to its investments in other ride-sharing companies. mainly the Chinese Didi service.

The company reported revenue of $ 6.9 billion for the first three months of 2022, exceeding analysts’ expectations and skyrocketing 136% from revenue in the same period last year, when Covid vaccines were scarce. and people didn’t travel that much. Uber also said it recorded 1.7 billion trips during the quarter and had 115 million people using its platform each month, up 18% and 17% year-over-year, respectively.

Throughout the pandemic, Uber’s financial results have been an indicator of broader economic health and propensity to travel, with the company’s weakest quarters corresponding to coronavirus spikes and major blockages, and with stronger results. which generally indicate periods of greater normality.

Now, “when people went back to offices, restaurants, pubs, stadiums and airports around the world, they went back to Uber,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s chief executive, in a prepared investor comment. She added that the company’s results “are clear that we are emerging on a strong path to exit the pandemic.”

However, Uber’s investments in other ride-sharing businesses around the world continue to hamper its bottom line. Of its nearly $ 6 billion in losses, $ 5.6 billion comes from changes in the valuation of other companies in which it has a stake. Didi’s value has plummeted since it went public last year.

Revenue from Uber’s home transportation business increased nearly 200% over the same period last year, despite a slowdown earlier in the quarter due to the Omicron variant, and the food delivery business of Uber. Uber grew 12% even as people largely returned to restaurants and grocery stores.

Although Uber’s business continues to lose money, it said it was nearing profitability. Barring some expenses like stock offsetting and Didi’s losses, Uber had another profitable quarter and its free cash flow was nearing break-even point.

Drivers, which power Uber’s business, as well as the business of other gig economy companies like Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart, have said so. high gas prices in recent months, stemming in part from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, made it harder to make a living driving for Uber. Some have said they are reducing their hours or leaving the platform.

Uber, which had already spent a lot of money attracting drivers who had left at the start of the pandemic, responded in March by charging motorcyclists a small fuel fee for each trip, which went to drivers, and on Wednesday it said it had more drivers on its platform than at any time since the start of the pandemic.

That confidence – and its rosy outlook for the next quarter – differed markedly from its rival Lyft, which reported financial results Tuesday and saw its stock plummet 25% in after-hour trading after company executives reported. stated in an earnings call that they were still struggling to get drivers back to the platform and would spend more money to incentivize them to do so.

Uber’s shares fell alongside Lyft’s, and shortly thereafter Uber said it would release its financial results hours earlier than originally planned on Wednesday, ostensibly in an effort to differentiate its results from Lyft’s and prevent a decline in its results. shares when the market opens later that morning.

Although Lyft said the number of active drivers in the first three months of the year grew 40% from the number in the same period last year, Logan Green, the company’s chief executive, also said the drivers have ” signed “during Omicron and had yet to get back in the numbers needed to meet the recovering demand.

Lyft reported better-than-expected revenue of $ 876 million, a 44% increase from the first quarter of 2021 and a net loss of $ 197 million, a decrease of 54% from last year. The company had 17.8 million active riders, up from 13.5 million at the start of last year but down from nearly 19 million at the end of 2021.