EV scooter startup Bird posts lower loss amid rapid expansion

FILE PHOTO: A smart phone app time-of-use electric scooter from Bird Rides Inc. is shown parked next to a sidewalk in San Diego, California, U.S., May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Bird Rides electric scooter rental company on Thursday reported a narrower second-quarter loss, with revenue soaring to above pre-pandemic levels as COVID-19 restrictions eased in major markets.

These are the last quarterly results the Los Angeles-based e-mobility provider will release before it goes public via a merger with blank-check company Switchback II Corp in a deal that would value Bird at $2.3 billion.

That deal should close before the end of the third quarter.

Founded in 2017, Bird has expanded rapidly to operate in more than 300 cities worldwide. Of those, around 50 have been added since June.

During the second quarter, the company said it would start renting electric bikes this year in some cities in North America and Europe.

Bird reported a second-quarter loss of $43 million, versus $50 million in the same period in 2020.

Second-quarter revenue jumped to $60 million from $10.4 million during the same period in 2020 when lockdowns virtually shut down the e-mobility industry.

Pummeled by the impact of the pandemic, Bird posted revenue of $95 million for 2020. The company has said it expects 2021 revenue to rise to $188 million and then to more than double to $400 million in 2022.

Bird's Chief Financial Officer Yibo Ling said in a statement that margins on e-scooter rides have risen this year "despite continued COVID headwinds and varying seasonal conditions, and we expect to see continued margin improvement as global demand returns to pre-pandemic levels."

The startup also on Thursday said it would begin selling an e-bike that has been designed in-house. The Bird Bike will go on sale in the United States and Europe with a recommended retail price of $2,299.

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