Lyft posts strong growth, big losses in first public quarter


NEW YORK (AP) — Lyft is reporting strong revenue growth but substantial losses in its first quarterly earnings report since its rocky stock market debut.

The ride-hailing company posted revenue of $776 million during the first quarter of 2019, nearly doubling the amount it made the same time last year. Their revenues beat expectations of analysts polled by FactSet, who were expecting $740 million.

But the San Francisco-based company lost $1.1 billion in its first public quarter, primarily because it paid out $894 million in stock-based compensation and related payroll taxes during its initial public offering.

After adjusting for those one-time costs, Lyft’s losses reached $211.5 million in the first quarter, compared to $228.4 million at the same time last year.

Lyft executives emphasized the growth of their active riders, which jumped to 20.5 million in the first quarter, up 46% from the same time last year.

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The company also announced a partnership with Waymo to deploy 10 autonomous vehicles in the Phoenix area over the next few months, which could help the company as it competes with Uber to roll out the technology that both are relying on to drive down costs.

“We’re excited about our investments and initiatives this year that will drive future growth,” said Logan Green, Lyft’s co-founder and CEO, in a conference call with investors.

The report comes just days before the hotly anticipated IPO of Lyft’s much larger rival, Uber, which plans to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

Lyft’s stock has fallen dramatically since its own IPO in April. It closed Tuesday at $59.34, down about 18% from its debut at $72. The stock slipped another 3% in after-hours trading following the release of the earnings report.

Both companies are losing money as they discount rides to gain market share and struggle to prove to investors that they have a path to profitability.

Lyft said it expects revenues of $800 million to $810 million in the second quarter of 2019, higher than the $782 million analysts polled by FactSet expect. It said it anticipates losses between $270 million and $280 million, lower than the $305 million in losses that analysts expect.

For the full 2019 year, Lyft anticipates raking in $3.26 billion to $3.3 billion in revenue, higher than FactSet analysts’ estimate of $3.24 billion, and losing $1.15 billion to $1.18 billion, less than the $1.25 billion analysts expect.

Some analysts were forgiving of the company as it positions itself toward eventual profitability. Lyft is taking steps in the right direction financially and “it’s hard to knock them on this quarter,” said Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities.

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