Financial Performance

Lower-Than-Expected Loss Cheers Lyft Investors

“We are trying to drive profitable growth, not growth at all costs," CFO Brian Roberts says.
Matthew HellerAugust 8, 2019

Lyft shares jumped in after-hours trading on Wednesday as investors apparently shared management’s optimism over its financial outlook despite another quarter of heavy losses.

For the second quarter, the ride-hailing company lost $644.2 million versus a net loss of $178.9 million in the same period of 2018. But its adjusted net loss of $0.68 per share was considerably lower than analysts’ expectations of a loss of $1.74 per share.

Revenue rose 72% to a record $867 million, beating estimates of $809 million, and “active riders” totaled 21.8 million, ahead of estimates of 21.1 million.

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Lyft’s stock climbed 4% to $60.29 in the extended trading session as the company also lowered its projected full fiscal year EBITDA loss to $850 million to $875 million from the previous guidance of $1.15 billion to $1.175 billion.

“Lyft’s second quarter was marked by strong execution and important advances in our product and platform. This translated to record revenue driven by better than expected active rider growth and revenue per active rider monetization,” CEO Logan Green said in a news release.

As The New York Times reports, “Lyft’s financial performance has been in the spotlight since it went public in March. Ride-hailing is a costly business because providers continually pay large sums to recruit drivers and passengers. As investors questioned whether Lyft could turn a profit, its shares stumbled quickly after its initial public offering, sliding below their offering price of $72.”

CFO Brian Roberts told the Times that a fierce price war with Uber had abated, allowing Lyft to cut back on the amount it spends on discounted rides. The company spent $180 million on sales and marketing in the second quarter, or about 19% of revenue, compared to almost 35% of revenue a year ago.

“We want to win on brand preference and customer experience, not on coupons,” Roberts said. “We are trying to drive profitable growth, not growth at all costs.”

Lyft had indicated in May that losses would peak this year. “Narrowing losses this year could be a sign that the road to profitability is shorter than feared,” The Wall Street Journal said.