Uber’s profit forecast beats estimates amid strong demand for ride-sharing and food delivery

(Reuters) – Uber Technologies forecast quarterly core profit and gross bookings above estimates and reported market-beating results for the holiday quarter on Wednesday, fueled by higher demand in its ride-sharing and food delivery businesses.

Uber, which posted its first full-year net profit, is expanding initiatives such as memberships, business travel and advertising. Combined with an increase in trips, this helps the company improve user retention.

After a decline during the COVID years, travel demand picked up again last year as people stepped outside more and many companies called on their employees to work from the office.

Uber had said in September that it was considering buybacks and dividends, but did not disclose a plan in its earnings statement. The company’s shares fell nearly 2% in premarket trading.

“Uber’s platform advantages and disciplined investments in new growth opportunities resulted in record engagement and accelerated gross bookings in the fourth quarter,” said Chief Financial Officer Prashanth Mahendra-Rajah.

The company expects adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $1.26 billion to $1.34 billion in the quarter ended in March, compared with expectations of $1.26 billion, according to LSEG data.

Uber’s gross bookings forecast of $37 billion to $38.5 billion exceeded expectations of $37.33 billion.

The outlook follows strong results in the seasonally strong October-December period. Fourth-quarter revenue rose 15% to $9.9 billion and gross bookings rose 22% to $37.6 billion, surpassing Wall Street targets.

Uber boda boda riders with the company’s first fleet of electric products during their launch in Nairobi, Kenya, in…

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