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Lyft posts Q2 adjusted EBITDA profit, tops sales estimates as reopenings stoke ride-hailing recovery

·Reporter
·3 min read
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Lyft (LYFT) reported second-quarter results that handily exceeded estimates, with the ride-hailing giant's results boosted by improving mobility trends as vaccinations picked up in the spring. Shares rose more than 3% in late trading following the report. 

Here were the main results from Lyft's report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Revenue: $765.0 million vs. $700.73 million expected and $339.35 million Y/Y

  • Adjusted EBITDA: $23.8 million vs. loss of $40.25 million expected and loss of $280.3 million Y/Y

Lyft's results for the three months ending in June lapped last year's severely pandemic-depressed metrics, which encompassed the height of stay-in-place orders across the U.S. As a result, revenue was expected to more than double compared to the same period over last year. However, Lyft's sales were still down compared to the $867.3 million it brought in during the comparable quarter in 2019. 

As ride-hailing and other travel businesses came under pressure last year, Lyft significantly cut costs, helping put the company on a stronger path toward profitability now that demand is returning, many analysts have said.

"We expect demand to continue to rebound and as it does, expect the groundwork Lyft has put in place during the depths of the pandemic to better position the company for stronger profitability going forward," Wedbush analysts Dan Ives and Ygal Arounian wrote in a note ahead of Tuesday's results. 

And with demand elevated and lower-priced pooling options erased during the pandemic, Lyft's revenue per active rider was also expected to move higher, with consensus analysts anticipating this to come in at $45.31 for the second quarter compared to $39.06 in the same three months last year. That would come even as active riders likely grew further, or by 14% sequentially to 15.37 million. 

Lyft has previously targeted achieving adjusted EBITDA profitability in the third quarter of 2021, which would mark the first profit for the company since it went public in early 2019. After cutting headcount and other costs and selling its autonomous vehicle development unit to a Toyota subsidiary earlier this year, Lyft's Chief Financial Officer Brian Roberts said in May that the company could reach adjusted EBITDA profitability even if ride-share volumes this year come in 33% below pre-pandemic levels from late 2019.

FILE - In this  Jan. 31, 2018, file photo, a Lyft logo is installed on a Lyft driver's car in Pittsburgh. Lyft says it’s readying for an initial public offering of its shares. The ride sharing service announced Thursday, Dec. 6, that it confidentially submitted a draft registration statement for the proposed IPO. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2018, file photo, a Lyft logo is installed on a Lyft driver's car in Pittsburgh. Lyft says it’s readying for an initial public offering of its shares. The ride sharing service announced Thursday, Dec. 6, that it confidentially submitted a draft registration statement for the proposed IPO. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

As a pure-play ride-hailing company, Lyft has so far been a bigger beneficiary of reopening themes and a rotation to cyclical investments this year compared to larger competitor Uber (UBER). However, this business model has also left Lyft vulnerable to the recovery-related roadblocks that have recently emerged, including concerns that the spread of the Delta variant may once again curb consumer going-out trends. And like many companies, both Uber and Lyft have been exposed to labor shortages present across the U.S. economy, with driver incentives potentially cutting into margins at both businesses. 

"We believe ride-sharing trends will continue to improve as both driver supply and consumer demand improves," Rohit Kulkarni, managing director for MKM Partners, wrote in a note on Monday. 

"Tactically speaking, Lyft’s 2Q earnings and 3Q outlook could present investors with a clean story with progress towards profitability whereas Uber’s recent acquisitions, potential dilution, and unclear global pandemic recovery might add to noise around earnings," he added. "Near-term debates include take rate trends, impact of the Delta variant on 3Q outlook, and driver supply constraints."

This post is breaking. Check back for updates.

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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