Uber grew its business in the UK last year, new figures reveal, as it faces a battle to continue operating in London.
The ride-hailing startup brought in £3m in pre-tax profits newly filed accounts reveal. That was up 65 per cent on the previous year, while revenue jumped 59 per cent to £37m in 2016.
Staff costs increased to £11.4m, up from £7.2m a year earlier, while share-based payments to employees fell to £428,000, from £616,00 in 2015.
And its tax bill inched up to £551,000, from £411,000 a year earlier on the back of rising profits.
Critics have lambasted the firm over the way it reports profits and pays taxes, however. The commission it collects from drivers is reported via its business in the Netherlands.
Yesterday, the EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager cracked down on similar arrangements by fellow tech giants Amazon and Apple and left the door open for further action against other companies.
“We continue to invest in expanding our business in the UK, growing from 20 towns and cities at the start of last year to more than 40 today," said an Uber spokesperson.
“Corporation tax is of course paid on profits rather than revenues and, while we recorded a profit here, globally we are not yet profitable as we are still expanding and investing heavily. Uber is also creating many economic opportunities in every city we operate in. The vast majority of the revenue generated by our technology goes directly to drivers who use our app and so stays in the local economy."
The latest figures come as Uber faces being barred altogether from operating in the capital, by far its most profitable part of the busieness in the UK.
Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi this week flew in from San Francisco for talks with the London transport regulator after deciding not to renew its licence to operate in a shock move.
The meeting was described as constructive by both sides, however, more talks will take place.
London mayor Sadiq Khan today welcomed Khosrowshahi's "humility" but also made a veiled dig at the companies previous approach.
“What gives me confidence about the Transport for London decision is the fact that the global chief executive officer for Uber apologised to London," Khan said, speaking on LBC Radio.
“I think that bodes well in relation to the humility which hasn’t been shown by Uber London or Uber UK."