Company earningsNews

Lyft’s net loss widens in the first quarter

Ride-hailing company Lyft (NYSE: LYFT) reported a first quarter 2019 net loss of $1.14 billion, or a net loss of $48.53 per share, the company said on May 7.

In comparison, Lyft said it had a net loss of $234.3 million, or a net loss of $11.69 per share, in the first quarter of 2018.

Despite a net loss that widened year-over-year, Lyft was confident that it would continue to grow throughout the year. The on-demand cab company pointed to revenue of $776 million in the first quarter of 2019, compared with $397.2 million in the first quarter of 2018. It said it had 20.5 million active riders in the first quarter of 2019, a 46 percent increase from 14 million active riders in the first quarter of 2018.

Lyft translated that value of active riders as $37.86 in revenue per active rider in the first quarter of 2019, compared with $28.27 in revenue per active rider in the first quarter of 2018.

“The first quarter was a strong start to an important year, our first as a public company,” said Lyft co-founder and chief executive officer Logan Green. “Our performance was driven by the increased demand for our network and multi-modal platform, as Active Riders grew 46 percent and revenue grew 95 percent year-over-year. Transportation is one of the largest segments of our economy and we are still in the very early stages of an enormous secular shift from personal car ownership to Transportation-as-a-Service.”

Among the expenses figuring into the first quarter net loss was $894 million in stock-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses. Adjusted net loss in the first quarter was $211.5 million, compared with $228.4 million in the first quarter of 2018. Adjusted net loss is adjusted for the amortization of intangible assets, stock-based compensation expense, payroll tax expense related to stock-based compensation, changes to the insurance reserve attributable to historical periods, and cost related to acquisitions, Lyft said.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was a loss of $216 million in the first quarter of 2019, compared with adjusted EBITDA of $238.7 million in the first quarter of 2018.

Lyft expects second quarter revenue to be between $800 million and $810 million, with adjusted EBITDA loss estimated between $270 million and $280 million.

For all of 2019, Lyft anticipates total revenue of between $3.275 billion and $3.3 billion, with an adjusted EBITDA loss of between $1.15 billion and $1.175 billion.

Lyft launched its initial public offering (IPO) on March 28, beating its chief rival, Uber, to market. At its debut, it was valued at $72 per share. On May 7, it closed at $59.34. Reasons for the slump have ranged from difficulties in gauging the actual value of the company to market perception that Lyft is still a startup at its core, meaning that investors have a hard time figuring out the company’s long-term growth potential. Lyft is also the first “gig economy” company to go public, which likely contributes to its stock’s volatility.

According to the prospectus that Lyft filed for its IPO, the company’s share of the U.S. ride-hailing market grew to 39 percent in December 2018 from 22 percent at the end of 2016.

In the United States, one of Lyft’s goals is to decrease personal car ownership by providing a range of alternative transportation options. In addition to its ride-sharing and bicycle-sharing services, the company also offers carpooling and scooter rentals.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily. Her transportation background extends to writing about automotive fuels and additives for Hart Energy Publishing and producing summaries on advanced transportation research for a federal government agency. In her spare time, she likes writing travel articles, taking photographs, and singing and dancing. She has a bachelor's degree in music and political science from Barnard College, a master's in journalism from Boston University, and a master's in musical theater from Boston Conservatory.

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