Thursday, May 5, 2022

Calcbench is devoting the month of May to non-GAAP financial disclosures — and as fate would have it, a great example fell into our laps right away. Uber filed its first-quarter earnings releases this week, with interesting non-GAAP disclosures galore.

Let’s start at the top. Uber ($UBER) filed its Q1 2022 earnings release on May 4, and according to GAAP rules the quarter looks horrible: a net loss of $5.9 billion (yes, billion) on revenue of $6.85 billion.

Except, after a number of non-GAAP maneuvers, Uber also reported an adjusted EBITDA profit of $168 million. How did that come about? Figure 1, below, is Uber’s reconciliation of non-GAAP reporting, and it tells the tale.

Almost all of Uber’s $5.9 billion loss comes from a $5.56 billion charge Uber recorded to write down investments it made in overseas ride-hailing services Grab, Aurora, and Didi. Elsewhere in the earnings release, Uber broke down the write-downs by specific investments:

  • $1.9 billion unrealized loss on the Grab investment;
  • $1.7 billion unrealized loss on the Aurora investments;
  • $1.4 billion unrealized loss on the Didi investment;
  • $462 million unrealized loss on its Zomato investment. (Zomato is a food delivery service in India.)

Uber’s Non-GAAP Through History

Uber’s non-GAAP reporting for this quarter also caught our eye because we also wrote about Uber last year. For first-quarter 2021, Uber reported an adjusted EBITDA that was actually lower than the GAAP-approved net income number. You don’t see that too often.

At the time, Uber had sold its self-driving car unit to Aurora (a tech startup that hopes to deliver self-driving cars some day in the future) for $1.68 billion, and made a $400 equity investment in Aurora to boot.

That sale, along with a few other small adjustments, led to Uber reporting a $1.71 billion gain on Other Income for the quarter. Uber had to report that as a non-GAAP adjustment, but it was an adjustment downward because you can’t always assume that other income will be a gain. Hence Uber’s adjusted EBITDA ended up being considerably lower than its GAAP net loss.

Now things have come full circle: after selling its self-driving technology to Aurora and booking a profit, which pushed its adjusted EBITDA down; Uber is now booking a loss on the investment it made in Aurora at the same time, which pushes its adjusted EBITA up.

Such a wonderful time to be alive and a financial analyst, right?

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