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Lyft revenue tops expectations in first results as public company but growth seen slowing

 Lyft revenue tops expectations in first results as public company but growth seen slowing

By Alexandria Sage and Vibhuti Sharma

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Lyft Inc's quarterly revenue rose 95% and topped market expectations on Tuesday as the ride-sharing company reported its first results after going public, days before rival Uber plans its own IPO.

In a snub to Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft also announced a partnership with Alphabet Inc's Waymo in which Lyft will deploy 10 self-driving vehicles around the Arizona city of Phoenix. Uber has welcomed Waymo cars on its network.

Shares remained about flat after results were published.

Lyft posted a $1.1 billion loss in its first quarter, hit by stock-based compensation charges due to its initial public offering. Lyft, which forecast growth would slow in the second quarter, is watched as a bellwether for its larger rival Uber which will price its offering on Thursday.

Lyft, which has nearly 40% of the U.S. ride-sharing market, said increased demand helped push revenue to $776 million in the quarter, 95% above its $397.2 million a year earlier, and up 16% from its fourth quarter.

Revenue was above analysts' average estimate of $739.4 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

An outlook for second-quarter revenue of $800 million to $810 million was ahead of analysts' expectations of $783.1 million. The low end of that forecast would amount to revenue growth of 58%, however, far short of the growth Lyft has enjoyed recently.

The company also forecast an expected adjusted EBITDA loss of $270 million to $280 million for the second quarter.

In a statement, Chief Executive Logan Green called results "a strong start."

Lyft posted revenue of $37.86 from each of its 20.5 million active riders during the first quarter, a 34% increase in revenue and a 46% increase in riders over the same period in 2018.

Total costs and expenses rose more than 200% in the quarter as it stepped up its promotional activities to compete with rival Uber, although a contribution margin improvement to 49.6% from 35.4% pointed to greater efficiency.

SLUMPING SHARES

A net loss widened to $1.14 billion, or $48.53 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 from $234.3 million, or $11.69 per share, a year earlier. Stock-based compensation and payroll tax made up $894 million of that amount.

Shares of Lyft have been in a slump since the company's own IPO, falling 23% since its first day of trade on March 29 and IPO price of $72.

Both Lyft and Uber have warned in regulatory filings that they may never make a profit and they face growing competition, friction with drivers and pricing pressure.

Unlike its larger, more international rival, Lyft focuses almost exclusively on ride-hailing in the United States.

One point of contention for some Lyft investors has been the company's dual-class share structure, which gives founders outsized control of the company.

Last year, Lyft had 30.7 million riders and 1.9 million drivers in more than 300 cities in the United States and Canada. In comparison, Uber - which could be valued at about $90 billion - had 75 million riders and 3.9 million drivers in 65 countries.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage in San Francisco and Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Lisa Shumaker)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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Updated Date: May 08, 2019 02:06:04 IST