Earnings Results: Lyft shares rise as ride-hailing rebound continues

May 05
03:52 2021

Lyft Inc. on Tuesday posted quarterly results that reflect what it’s been saying for the past couple of months: Ride hailing is back.

Lyft LYFT, -1.56% said it had 13.49 million active riders in the first quarter, an increase of about 940,000 from the previous quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet on average had expected 12.8 million.

“We had an exceptionally strong Q1 as more people started moving again,” said Brian Roberts, Lyft’s chief financial officer, in a statement. “Our results meaningfully exceeded our outlook driven by elevated demand across our network.”

The company’s shares climbed as high as 7% after hours, after falling 1.5% in the regular session to close at $ 56.19. 

The San Francisco-based company reported a loss of $ 427.3 million, or $ 1.31 a share, compared with $ 398.1 million, also $ 1.31 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for stock-based compensation, payroll tax and other costs, the company’s net loss was $ 114.1 million. Revenue fell to $ 609 million from $ 955.7 million in the year-ago quarter, but rose 7% from the previous quarter.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had, on average, forecast a loss of 60 cents a share on revenue of $ 558.2 million.

The company saw the sharpest rise in demand in March, executives said on the earnings call with analysts. The first quarter ended March 31, but Lyft executives gave some insight into what happened in April: Rides fell off from the previous month, which they attributed to seasonality, but were up 100% year over year.

“We continue to believe there’s a significant pent-up demand in rides,” said Chief Executive Logan Green on the call. “With warmer weather and easing of restrictions, we anticipate more people will want to get out.”

Roberts said he expects second-quarter revenue of $ 680 million to $ 700 million and adjusted EBITDA loss of $ 35 million to $ 45 million. Analysts expect second-quarter revenue of $ 683.3 million.

Along with expressing an upbeat outlook for rides in the second quarter and beyond, plus the demand for bike- and scooter-sharing, Roberts also said the company expects to achieve EBITDA profitability in the third quarter.

Lyft executives addressed some timely issues on the call, including ride-hailing demand outstripping driver supply. They said driver earnings are at an all-time high because of the imbalance, which they expect to be corrected in the third quarter as pandemic concerns ease and unemployment benefits expire.

John Zimmer, president of Lyft, said “drivers are earning $ 35 an hour on average in some of our busiest markets. We believe more drivers will sign up based on these dynamics.” He added that he expects food-delivery drivers to move over to rides, where they can make more money, if demand for delivery declines as the pandemic eases.

In addition, Zimmer said the company is in talks with policymakers about driver-classification issues. The topic caused Lyft’s stock to plunge last week after comments by the new head of the U.S. Labor Department, Marty Walsh.

See: Biden’s labor secretary says ‘in a lot of cases, gig workers should be classified as employees’

Also: Gig work could change under Biden’s Labor secretary. Here’s how

Zimmer said he is optimistic the industry’s Proposition 22 victory in California can be expanded to other states this year. California voters passed Prop. 22 in November, enabling Lyft and other gig companies to continue classifying their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.

Shares of Lyft have risen almost 15% so far this year, and about 110% in the past 52 weeks. By comparison, Uber stock is up about 4% year to date, and about 90% in the past year. The S&P Index 500 SPX, -0.67% has increased about 11% so far this year and about 45% in the past 52 weeks.