Lyft Q1 2020 revenue sees 23% growth despite coronavirus

·Technology Editor
·3 min read

Lyft reported its Q1 2020 earnings after the bell on Wednesday, posting 23% year-over-year revenue growth, and giving investors and analysts their first look at how the ride sharing industry has fared throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

For Lyft, though, the effects of the pandemic only began to kick in around March, which means Q1 doesn’t provide a full look at how the virus has hit the business.

Here are the top numbers from the report compared with analysts’ expectations as compiled by Bloomberg.

  • Revenue: $956 million versus $829.6 million expected

  • Losses per share: $1.31 versus $0.64 expected

The company’s stock was up 13% in after hours trading.

Ride-sharing companies like Lyft (LYFT), and its biggest U.S. competitor Uber (UBER), have been hammered as ridership has fallen amid widespread lockdowns. Both companies have had heavy layoffs with Lyft cutting 17% of its workforce, or 986 jobs, and furloughing another 288 employees. That doesn't include the drivers who are classified as contractors, not employees, and may have had little or no work since the lockdowns.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 16: A driver adjusts his face mask as Uber and Lyft drivers with Rideshare Drivers United and the
 Transport Workers Union of America conduct a ‘caravan protest’ outside the California Labor Commissioner’s office amidst the coronavirus pandemic on April 16, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The drivers called for California to enforce the AB 5 law so that they may qualify for unemployment insurance as the spread of COVID-19 continues. Drivers also called for receiving back wages they say they are owed. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A driver adjusts his face mask as Uber and Lyft drivers conduct a ‘caravan protest’ outside the California Labor Commissioner’s office amidst the coronavirus pandemic on April 16, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The firm also cut executive salaries by 30%, vice presidents’ salaries by 20%, and all other exempt employees by 10% for 12 weeks.

In a statement, Lyft CFO Brian Roberts said the company will continue to make significant cuts in the year ahead.

“We expect to remove approximately $300 million from our annual expense run-rate by the fourth quarter of 2020 relative to our original expectations for 2020.”

Active riders for the platform increased by just 3% year-over-year from 20.5 million to 21.2 million, while revenue per active rider rose 19%.

On April 21, Lyft pulled its full-year guidance, saying the impact from the coronavirus pandemic was going to significantly impact the ride-sharing business.

“In terms of Street Q2 Revenue estimates, we think Street numbers are optimistic (Street calling for -26% Y/Y Revenue growth), and implies a very strong recovery in June, as April and May are likely to still face material headwinds (+50% declines),” RBC analyst Mark Mahaney wrote in a recent research note ahead of the earings report.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives noted the struggle Lyft and its counterpart Uber will face in the months ahead, but said he is bullish on their long-term outlook.

“We expect Uber and Lyft to be hard-hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, looming recession, and slow reopening of economies globally,” he said, prior to the earnings release. “We therefore have modest expectations for both 1Q20E and 2020E, but we continue to be positive on the LT opportunities, despite many questions remaining around business model changes on the other side of this crisis.”

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