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Lyft Results Beat in Q4, but Soaring Costs Muddy Route to Profit

By Yasin Ebrahim – Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) reported better-than-expected guidance after its fourth-quarter results topped analysts' estimates Tuesday, but a surge in costs raised concerns about the ride-hailing company's path to profitability.

Shares fell 4% postmarket.

Lyft guided first-quarter revenue in the range of $1.055 to $1.06 billion, above Wall Street estimates for $1.05 billion and forecast a loss (EBITDA) of $140 million to $145 million, narrower than estimates of $158 million.

The bullish guidance followed fourth-quarter results that topped estimates on both the top and bottom lines, led by growth in its ride-hailing business.

For the fourth quarter, Lyft reported a loss per share of $0.41, narrower than consensus estimates of for a loss of $0.53 a share, while revenues of $1.02 billion topped estimates for $0.98 billion.

The company said "active riders" on its platform jumped 23% to 22.9 million in the fourth quarter year on year, with revenue per active rider rising 23% year over year to $44.40.

Net losses for the quarter widened to $356 million from $248.9 million in the same period of 2018.

Total costs and expenses for year, however, more than doubled to $6.3 billion from $3.1 billion.

"Fiscal 2019 was an exceptional year across the board. We significantly improved our path to profitability while simultaneously reaching critical milestones toward our long-term strategy," said Logan Green, co-founder and chief executive officer of Lyft.

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