Digital brokerage Uber Freight showed it was not immune to the downturn in the freight market, with the company again posting negative adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, as the Transplace acquisition from late 2021 was still unable to pull all of Uber Freight to consistent profitability by that key EBITDA measure.
The third quarter of 2021 was the final one in which Transplace financials were not part of the Uber Freight earnings report. The segment of the larger Uber (NYSE: UBER) parent posted adjusted EBITDA that quarter of negative $35 million in the earnings report released Tuesday.. (Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP measure but generally is considered more indicative of a company’s financial performance.)
Since then, the EBITDA figures sequentially have gone negative $25 million, positive $2 million, positive $5 million, positive $1 million, negative $8 million and in the first quarter of 2023, negative $23 million.
The combination of Transplace and Uber Freight brought together two companies on different sides of the freight divide. Uber Freight has its network of carriers that use its digital brokerage capabilities; Transplace operates transportation management systems primarily for shippers. The $2.25 billion acquisition closed in the fourth quarter of 2021.
In the third quarter of 2021, Uber Freight, without the impact of Transplace, posted revenue of $402 million. Its peak revenue since then was in the second quarter of 2022, when Uber Freight reported revenue of $1.83 billion. That was up from the $1.82 billion posted in the first quarter of 2022.
By the fourth quarter of 2022, revenue was down to $1.54 billion. In the first quarter of this year, revenue was $1.4 billion, down 23% from a year earlier.
The most notable development at Uber Freight in the first quarter, besides the downturn in revenue and EBITDA, may have been the report from Bloomberg that said the parent company was considering its options with Uber Freight and whether to sell the brokerage operation or divest it through an initial public offering.
The prepared statement releasing Uber’s earnings did not mention any other developments in the quarter, except its partnership with WattEV to deploy electric trucks in California, with pallet management company CHEP as the shipper involved in the trial.
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