Home-sharing site Airbnb posted a $3.9 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2020 as it suffered from the pandemic downturn in travel and recorded one-time costs for becoming a public company.
In results released Thursday Airbnb’s first as a publicly traded entity the San Francisco-based company took a charge of $2.8 billion for stock compensation related to the IPO. A year earlier, Airbnb lost $352 million.
Revenue fell 22% to $859 million in the quarter that ended Dec. 31. Nights booked fell 39% from a year earlier.
Since the start of the pandemic, Airbnb has shifted its focus to beach towns and mountain destinations outdoorsy places where the risk of contracting the coronavirus is perceived to be lower. The company expects rentals in big cities to come back last.
It has also slashed costs and jobs to ride out the pandemic, much like airlines and others in the travel industry.
Airbnb generated sky-high expectations from investors, which led to a winning debut on the stock market in December, when its shares more than doubled the San Francisco-based companys target price and gave it a valuation of just over $100 billion. At $3.7 billion, it was the biggest U.S. IPO in 2020, according to Renaissance Capital.
Now investors are turning their attention on what the company says about 2021 and beyond. In late January, Airbnb said a survey it commissioned showed that just over half of Americans have already booked a trip or plan to travel this year.
Airbnb faces challenges, including opposition from hotels. Some cities have stepped up restrictions on short-term rentals. Critics say Airbnb contributes to higher rents and home prices in some markets. Some of the companys hosts arent just sharing their homes, they are turning them into businesses catering to tourists, reducing the supply of housing for local residents, according to some researchers.
Before the release of financial results, the company’s shares fell 9.1% to close at $182.06. They were little changed in after-hours trading.
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