Lyft stock rises as Q4 revenue and profit beat expectations despite continued COVID-19 pressure on rides

Lyft’s CEO said the company is stronger “than at any time in our past” even though COVID-19 continued to reduce demand.

Ride-sharing pioneer Lyft this afternoon reported Q4 revenue that plunged from a year earlier, but came in slightly higher than expected, and a narrower-than-expected net loss, and said its profit was helped by cost-cutting in the quarter. 

The report sent Lyft shares higher by almost 8% in late trading.  

Said CEO Logan Green, "We continued to focus on improving our business for the long-term," adding, "The progress we've made has been significant and I believe we are now in a stronger position than at any time in our past."

Lyft said it continued to see some recovery in its business that began in Q3, but demand was still hampered by the pandemic. "[D]emand in the latter part of Q4 2020 was negatively affected by the surge in COVID-19 cases and the reintroduction of restrictive measures intended to curb the spread," said Lyft.

"As demand decreased, we reduced driver acquisition and engagement spend, which had a positive impact on our financial results."

Revenue in the three months ended in December declined by 44%, year over year, to $569.9 million, yielding a net loss of 58 cents, excluding some costs.

Revenue rose 14% from the prior quarter, Lyft said. 

Analysts had been modeling $561 million in revenue and a 68-cent net loss.

CFO Brian Roberts noted that the company was able to eliminate $360 million worth of costs, on an annualized basis, during the quarter. 

Lyft did not offer a forecast for this quarter.

The company will host a conference call with analysts at 4:30 pm, Eastern time, and you can catch a webcast of it on the company's investor relations home page