By Spencer Feingold
Lyft reported major losses in its first earnings report as a public company, posting a loss of $9.02 per share and $1.1 billion in losses from operations.
The company, which released its earnings Tuesday afternoon after the markets closed, was expected to lose around $1.80 per share, according to analysts. Lyft, however, also reported revenue of $776 million, up from the expected $739 million and marking a 95 percent year-over-year increase.
The first-quarter earnings come as the company’s stock continues to struggle following Lyft’s highly anticipated initial public offering in March. Shares have been down over 20 percent since the closing at $78.29 — up from its IPO price of $72 — on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq.
Lyft ($LYFT) also reported 20.5 million active riders in Q1, up 46 percent from the 14 million a year prior. Revenue per active rider also increased by 34 percent in the last year from $28.27 to $37.86.
“The first quarter was a strong start to an important year, our first as a public company. Our performance was driven by the increased demand for our network and multi-modal platform,” Logan Green, Lyft’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.
Nonetheless, the loss in the first quarter fails to display progress towards profitability. Lyft — which went public with the highest losses of any IPO in U.S. history — said it anticipates an adjusted EBITDA loss to be between $1.15 billion and $1.175 billion for 2019.
“If they are publicly saying this is a strong quarter and a good start, I would hate to see what a bad one looks like,” Keith Fitz-Gerald, chief investment strategist at Money Map Press, told Cheddar. “I use this service a lot. I like it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be profitable, and that of course is why you invest in a company,”
Founded in 2012, Lyft was originally known for the fuzzy pink mustaches fixed to the hoods and grilles of its cars and largely seen as the North American younger brother of Uber.
Seven years later, the San Francisco-based company has completed over one billion rides and serves more than 30 million riders annually. The number of Lyft drivers rose to 1.9 million in 2018. The company also was the first ride-sharing company to go public, beating several of its older and larger competitors.
“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,” Green added in his statement.
‘Amazing the Passes We Give These Tech Companies’
Lyft’s earnings come just days ahead of Uber’s expected market debut on Friday. Uber released its anticipated IPO range of $44 to $50 per share — lower than where shares were previously rumored to be valued. The range sets the company's valuation between $80 and $90 billion.
The original ride-sharing giant plans to sell 180 million shares when it begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker UBER.
“The momentum of the market is a big old vacuum cleaner pulling these companies to the IPO process,” Brian Hamilton, founder of the financial firm Sageworks, told Cheddar. “Uber is basically Lyft 2.0, but bigger.”
Like Lyft, Uber will go public as an unprofitable company. The company reported $11.3 billion in revenue last year, a sharp increase from the $7.9 billion in revenue in 2017. However, Uber said it expects to post a loss of between $1 billion and $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2019.
“It is amazing the passes we give these tech companies,” Hamilton said.