Uber Freight’s EBITDA barely positive in Q3

Quarter-to-quarter comparisons on the financial performance of digital brokerage Uber Freight are limited in their value now, as the review would be looking at Uber Freight before it acquired Transplace and Uber Freight after the deal was closed just about a year ago.

But sequential comparisons are significant. And by one measure, Uber Freight, with Transplace now fully in the fold, did worse in the third quarter than it did in the second: EBITDA.

Uber Freight turned in a positive EBITDA in the second quarter of $5 million. But that declined to $1 million in the recently concluded third quarter.

Company executives have long pushed EBITDA as a leading indicator of the strength of Uber’s activities. EBITDA at Uber Freight in the first quarter was $2 million.

The drop in that measure of financial performance came as Uber Freight’s sequential revenue declined to $1.75 billion in the third quarter from $1.83 billion in the second quarter.

In the few comments about Uber Freight’s performance within the broader earnings release of Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER), the company said it had “record transportation management performance.” Although the statement did not refer to Transplace directly, transportation management is the core of the legacy Transplace business that Uber Freight acquired last year. 

Transportation management at Uber Freight “delivered record … performance on a trailing-twelve-month basis with our largest ever annual deal value won, highest ever win-rate, and largest ever forward pipeline.”

“Use cases for [transportation management] solutions continue to grow amidst supply chain headwinds, as shippers look to efficiently manage, plan and procure within their freight network,” the statement said.

The scope of the increase in revenue at Uber Freight as a result of the Transplace acquisition can be seen partly in the quarterly comparisons. The Uber Freight division with Transplace recorded revenue of $1.75 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30. A year ago, that number was $402 million. The increase can not all be attributed to Transplace because it is not known what percentage of revenue this year came from the online brokerage activities of legacy Uber Freight and revenue posted by legacy Transplace business.

Uber Freight was not mentioned during the company’s call with analysts after the release of its earnings.

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