Lyft stock plunges 25% after forecast, rider numbers come up short

Lyft Inc. said Tuesday that it had a better-than-expected first quarter, with Chief Executive Logan Green saying ride-hailing volumes hit “a new COVID high,” but shares plunged after executives’ forecast came up short.

Lyft
LYFT,
-2.35%

shares initially increased more than 2% after results beat most analysts’ expectations except for ridership numbers, but then began sinking until taking a big plunge as executives talked on a conference call about increasing investments in drivers as well as marketing for the second quarter to deal with increased demand. Shares were recently down more than 25%, after closing with a 2.4% decline in the regular session to $30.76, their lowest close since Nov. 6, 2020.

Uber Technologies Inc.
UBER,
-3.03%

shares were also declining in after-hours trading, falling more than 10%. Lyft’s ride-hailing rival is scheduled to report earnings Wednesday afternoon.

In the call, executives predicted second-quarter revenue of $950 million to $1 billion, shy of the $1.02 billion expected by analysts, and adjusted Ebitda of $10 million to $20 million, well short of the $83 million analysts on average expected, according to FactSet.

The ride-hailing company said it had 17.8 million riders, compared with 13.49 million riders in the year-ago quarter, falling shy of analysts’ expectation of 17.9 million riders. Lyft’s revenue per rider was $49.18, above analysts’ estimate of $47.20.

Lyft reported a first-quarter net loss of $196.9 million, or 57 cents a share, compared with $427.3 million, or $1.31 a share, in the year-ago period. After adjusting for stock-based compensation and other costs, Lyft reported earnings of $24.6 million, or 7 cents a share, up from an adjusted loss of 35 cents a share last year. Revenue climbed 44% to $875.6 million from $609 million in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast an adjusted loss of 7 cents a share on revenue of $848.9 million.

Elaine Paul, chief financial officer of Lyft, in a statement attributed the company’s “outperformance” to “increased demand and resilient driver levels.”

Shares of Lyft have fallen about 9% so far this year, while the S&P 500 index
SPX,
+0.48%

has decreased about 10% year to date.

Last week, the company restated its 2021 results, saying an accounting error led it to report a smaller loss for the year than it actually had. The company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that its loss for 2021 should have been $1.06 billion, or $3.17 a share, instead of $1.01 billion, or $3.02 a share.

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