Uber's business slowed dramatically in the fourth quarter as it gears up for an IPO

Dara KhosrowshahiUber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.Getty

  • Uber's loss dropped to $370 million last year from $4.5 billion in 2017, the company reported Friday.
  • But its bottom line was boosted by the sale of two of businesses.
  • And its growth rate slowed dramatically in the fourth quarter; sales grew just 2% from the third quarter and only 25% from the holiday period of 2017.

Uber dramatically narrowed it loss last year, thanks to the sale of its businesses in Russia and Southeast Asia, the company reported Friday.

But its business slowed dramatically in the fourth quarter, and without the asset sales, it would have posted a loss of more than $1 billion.

The app-based taxi service lost $370 million on sales of $11.3 billion in 2018, the company said. Uber showed improvement on both its top and bottom lines for the year; in 2017, it lost $4.5 billion on $7.5 billion in sales.

Uber's bottom line benefitted from the business sales. Excluding those and certain other charges and benefits, the company would have lost $1.8 billion last year. On that same basis, Uber lost $2.2 billion in 2017.

Read this: Uber booked $2.2 billion in sales last quarter - but it still took a $1.1 billion loss

In the fourth quarter, the company lost $865 million on $3 billion in sales. In the same period of 2017, the company lost $1.1 billion on sales of $2.2 billion.

On the revenue side, it showed a growth rate of just 25% - far slower than the 43% pace the company posted for the whole year, and well below the 61% annual growth rate Uber recorded in 2017.

What's more, the company's sales were up only 2% in the fourth quarter from the third quarter last year. Also, its take rate - its commission on what customers pay for Uber rides - declined from both the year-earlier period and the third quarter.

That slowdown could worry prospective investors as the company gears up for its initial public offering. The company confidentially filed its paperwork for an IPO last month, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Uber ended 2018 with $6.4 billion in cash. That was up from $4.8 billion at the end of the third quarter.

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