Lyft annual loss more than doubles, but revenue keeps rising

Lyft annual loss more than doubles, but revenue keeps rising
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Ride-hailing service Lyft’s annual loss more than doubled last year to over $2.6 billion, but the company claimed progress as revenue jumped 68% and ridership grew.

The San Francisco company is predicting another big revenue gain for this year, with a narrower pretax loss of $450 million to $490 million.

But in results released after the markets closed Tuesday, Lyft isn’t predicting a fourth-quarter profit this year like Uber, its main rival.

“We significantly improved our path to profitability while simultaneously reaching critical milestones toward our long-term strategy,” CEO Logan Green said in a statement.

Annual revenue was $3.62 billion, up from 2.16 billion in 2018, the company said.

The annual net loss included $1.6 billion in stock-based compensation and payroll tax expenses, plus $270.3 million in charges for insurance liabilities, Lyft said.

For the fourth quarter, Lyft lost $356 million compared with a $248.9 million loss a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the company lost 41 cents per share. That beat Wall Street estimates of a 53-cent per-share loss, according to FactSet.

Revenue for the quarter was just over $1 billion, up 52% from $669.5 billion a year ago. That also beat estimates of $984.1 million.

Active riders, those who took at least one ride during a fourth quarter, grew 23% for the period, to 22.9 million, Lyft said. Revenue per rider rose by the same percentage, to $44.40, Lyft said.

Shares of Lyft fell 4.3% to $51.64 in after-hours trading.

Uber, Lyft’s main ride-hailing rival, also continues to lose money, but Uber is now predicting a profit in the fourth quarter of this year, CEO Dara Khosrowhsahi said earlier this month on a conference call.

That’s sooner than the projection during the previous earnings call when he said the company would turn a full-year profit in 2021 as the company grows ride-hailing revenue, expands its food delivery business and develops autonomous vehicle technology.

Uber lost $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, about 24% worse than the same time last year. But revenue for its rides business nearly tripled in the final three months of last year as the company picked up more passengers around the world.

Khosrowshahi said the era of growth at all costs is over for Uber.

Tom Krisher, The Associated Press

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