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Uber's first-quarter losses reach $1B despite revenue growth

Uber went public three weeks ago and its shares have been trading below its IPO price ever since.
Image: Uber Technologies Inc., CEO Dara Khosrowshahi outside NYSE ahead of company's IPO in New York
Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi stands outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the company's IPO in New York on May 10, 2019.Andrew Kelly / Reuters file

Uber is continuing to bleed money even as it posts dramatic revenue growth.

In its first financial release since its lackluster debut on Wall Street, Uber reported Thursday that its revenue rose to $3.1 billion in the first quarter of 2019, up 20% from the same time last year. But the ride-hailing giant posted $1 billion in losses as it fights to maintain its share of the market.

San Francisco-based Uber, like its main U.S. competitor Lyft, has spent heavily on rider promotions and driver incentives to gain market share, one reason the companies have struggled to reach profitability. Both are dealing with intense competition, high costs to pay drivers, increased regulation by cites and a long, uncertain road to the development of autonomous vehicles.

"Our investments remain focused on global platform expansion and long-term product and technology differentiation, but we will not hesitate to invest to defend our market position globally," said Nelson Chai, Uber's chief financial officer, in a statement.

Chai added that Uber noticed less aggressive pricing by its competitors, and that trend has continued into the second quarter.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said customer engagement across Uber's platform was higher than ever, with an average of 17 million trips per day.

"Earlier this month we took the important step of becoming a public company, and we are now focused on executing our strategy to become a one-stop shop for local transportation and commerce," Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

Uber went public three weeks ago and its shares have been trading below its IPO price ever since. In Uber's first day of trading, the company's market value took a $617 million hit, the largest loss on the first day of trading by a U.S.-based company in recent history, according to investment bank Renaissance Capital.