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Uber's revenue climbed to £36.9m in London before ban

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Uber Technologies increased its revenue, headcount and profitability in London before its license was revoked last month in a surprise move by regulators.

[LONDON] Uber Technologies increased its revenue, headcount and profitability in London before its license was revoked last month in a surprise move by regulators.

Revenue for Uber London rose to £36.9 million (S$66.6 million) in 2016, up 59 per cent compared to the previous year, according to its latest UK company accounts.

Profit before tax climbed 65 per cent to £3 million, while the average number of monthly employees grew to 199, up 90 per cent.

Uber's license was revoked last month by Transport for London, a decision Uber intends to appeal. The US company is allowed to operate during the appeal process.

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Its London operation appeared to be but a sliver of its global operation. The startup generated US$1.75 billion in adjusted net revenue in the second quarter of this year, up 17 per cent from the prior quarter. Uber narrowed losses by 9 per cent to US$645 million, based on financial results provided by the company.

In London, Uber says it has more than 40,000 drivers and more than 3.5 million riders who use the app at least once every 90 days.

Regulators criticised Uber for a poor record of reporting crimes and not conducting adequate background checks on drivers.

The government also said the company has actively tried to avoid government scrutiny through a program called "Greyball".

Regulators concluded Uber didn't pass the "fit and proper" test to operate in the city.

Chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi flew to London for a meeting Tuesday with Transport for London, and talks have been flagged to continue over the coming weeks.

In its results, Uber notes that the group has "exposure to numerous legal and regulatory risks," including ligation related to Uber's classification of its drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees.

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