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Lyft fends off coronavirus fears to top Wall Street expectations (LYFT)

Lyft founders logan green john zimmer ceo president executives
  • Lyft released its first-quarter financials on Wednesday afternoon that easily topped expectations. 
  • The company's revenue and total losses were better than Wall Street expected, and its stock price popped as much as 14%.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc for Lyft and Uber alike, as shelter-in-place orders across the country lead to fewer ride requests.
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Lyft surprised Wall Street on Wednesday with first-quarter financials that handily topped expectations while providing the first look at how badly the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the ride-hailing firm's bottom line.
Here are the important numbers:
  • Revenue: $955.7 million versus an expected $829.6 million
  • Net loss (adjusted): $97.4 million versus an expected $179.6 million
  • Losses per share: $1.31, in line with expectations
"While the COVID-19 pandemic poses a formidable challenge to our business, we are prepared to weather this crisis," CEO Logan Green, said in a a press release. "We are responding to the pandemic with an aggressive cost reduction plan that will give us an even leaner expense structure and allow us to emerge stronger. Our competitive resilience and commitment to our culture and values will put Lyft in the best position to deliver on our mission of improving people's lives with the world's best transportation."
Shares of Lyft jumped as much as 14% in after-hours trading shortly following the release.
Active riders came in at 21.2 million, where analysts had expected 22.7 million. Still, the number is a 3% jump over the same period the previous year. Revenue per active rider, a closely watched metric in the industry, rose 19%.
Importantly, only the final few weeks of the quarter were impacted by the full force of the coronavirus, which has sent the company's main source of revenue into free fall. Data from SuperFly, which monitors anonymized spending data from millions of users, doesn't appear to show any meaningful uptick yet in the second quarter either.
To cut costs in the face of the crisis, Lyft in April announced roughly 1,000 layoffs — 17% of its workforce — and hundreds of furloughs. Executives and high-level employees are also taking pay cuts, Lyft said at the time. Uber has also announced similar cuts.
On a call with analysts later Wednesday, executives are likely to be asked about further cost cutting, and how the company views a rebound from the crisis following its withdrawal of full-year guidance.
"Uber and Lyft face Herculean-like challenges looking ahead as the new reality will likely change the business models of these companies (and competitors) for the foreseeable future," Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush, said ahead of earnings. "Even in food delivery while consumer demand is there, competition is driving meaningful pressure on profitability."
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