Uber India Systems, which provides marketing and support services to Uber, posted revenues of Rs 533 crore for the year ended March 2018, against Rs 410 crore in the previous year, according to its filing with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).
A year ago, it had posted a marginal increase of 10% in total revenues due to disruptions including in Karnataka and Delhi where governments banned surge pricing. While the last fiscal was uneventful from a regulatory perspective, it has been going through a supply crunch due to striking drivers in a few states. Both Ola and Uber have drastically cut driver incentives which affected the supply pool, and in turn, led to higher surge pricing.
“As these companies move towards profitability, they will look at areas where they can get higher earnings. There is already a bit of rationalisation in the pool segment. There could be a possibility of lower discounting as they move towards higher margins growth which in turn has led to supply issues already,” said Ujjwal Chaudhry, associate director, RedSeer Consulting.
On an average, 5% of gross merchandise value for cab-hailing app companies goes as rider incentive and another 12% for drivers. With about 20% commission from drivers, most companies are 3% positive on a net basis, said industry officials. Uber India Technology, a service provider to the flagship company, had sales of Rs 21.5 crore and profit of 20 lakh last fiscal.
Uber’s main rival Ola, run by ANI Technologies, is over twice as big in sales but has been posting huge losses – it had net loss of Rs 4,897.8 crore on revenues of Rs 1,380.7 crore in FY17. It has not filed its numbers for FY18. In comparison, Uber’s Indian unit has been profitable since the first year of operations – net profit rose 39% to Rs 26 crore during FY18.
India’s taxi market, estimated at more than $10 billion, is still largely unorganised even as aggregator services backed by technology and increased smartphone usage are fast changing the contours of the segment. Taxi owners and cab companies are also looking for ways in which they can compete with the aggregators.
Uber’s growth comes as the company continues to invest heavily in the Indian market. In 2015, it had announced an investment of $1 billion in the country to expand its services. Uber competes with home-grown startup Ola in the food delivery space in India too. Ola acquired Foodpanda in December 2017 to take on UberEATS in the Indian market.
A year ago, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had said India was a core market for the cab aggregator, accounting for 10% of its trips globally.
“When we look at the key markets for Uber, both in terms of where we are today, but especially where we are going to be 5-10 years from now, India is going to be one of the most important success factors as to how we grow and how significant our brand is and how significant a part we play in people’s lives over the next 5-10 years,” he told ET last year during his India visit.