Lyft’s fourth quarter topped Wall Street’s expectations, but no update on its path to profitability

Lyft on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter financial results that largely topped Wall Street expectations but warned growth could slow in 2020, leaving investors largely unimpressed.

Here are the important figures:

  • Revenue: $$1.02 billion million versus an expected $985.8 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA loss: $130.7 million versus an expected $163.2 million

Despite the beat, Lyft’s numbers were hard pressed to top Uber’s accelerated profitability timeline revealed the previous week, and shares fell as much as 4% in late trading. 

For the quarter, Lyft had 22.9 million active riders, a 23% jump from the same period the year prior. Revenue per active rider also grew in-step to $44.40, the company said. Total net losses, at $356 million for the quarter, fell compared to the prior three months but were a major increase from the same period of 2018 when the company’s net loss was $249 million.

“Despite shares down on the print before the conference call we view this as a continuation of Lyft delivering across the board strength every quarter since it’s become a public company,” Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush, said in a note to clients.”

Lyft’s results follow its larger competitor Uber which earlier in February reported results slightly ahead of expectations while accelerating its plan to reach a highly adjusted profitability metric. Its stock climbed on the news and likely left many Lyft investors if the company can do the same.

The path to profits for both companies has been pegged to a process called rationalization. In other words, its the willingness of consumers to pay higher fares for rides, as company’s capitulate to pressure from investors to shrink losses and end the coupons that helped them grow market share over previous years as privately funded companies.

“Fiscal 2019 was an exceptional year across the board,” Logan Green, Lyft’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We significantly improved our path to profitability while simultaneously reaching critical milestones toward our long-term strategy.”

Sungtae Chun
Sungtae Chun

Chief Marketing Officer

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