November 22, 2018 / 9:44 AM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 2-Meituan Dianping books wider loss in first earnings since IPO

* Q3 operating loss 3.45 bln yuan vs 1.05 bln yuan year prior

* Revenue rises 97 percent to 19 bln yuan

* Says increased costs pulled down earnings

* Net loss widens on change in value of convertible shares (Adds reasons for operating profit, revenue results)

By Josh Horwitz and Adam Jourdan

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Chinese online food delivery-to-ticketing firm Meituan Dianping said on Thursday its third-quarter operating loss tripled to 3.45 billion yuan ($497.46 million) in its first earnings release since raising $4.2 billion in a September IPO.

The firm, a so-called “super app” backed by domestic tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, said revenue for the three months to Sept. 30 rose 97.2 percent to 19.08 billion yuan. Overall gross transaction volume grew 40 percent.

The results, the first since Meituan Dianping’s listing, underscore the challenges facing the firm amid a costly battle with rivals such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s delivery platform Ele.me and even ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing, backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.

Meituan Dianping said food orders make up the majority of sales, and that the average purchase frequency per user rose in the third quarter. However, it said increased costs for payment processing and delivery riders contributed to its operating loss.

Its net loss soared to 83.30 billion yuan in the quarter, a steep jump from 4.4 billion yuan in the period a year earlier, which the firm said was due to changes in the fair value of convertible redeemable preferred shares.

China’s tech scene has also been roiled this year by concerns the heady days of growth that saw firms like Alibaba and Tencent double in value over the past few years may be over, hammering tech shares, including those of new IPO entrants.

Meituan Dianping, which has a market valuation of around $42 billion, has seen its shares drop 13 percent since listing amid cooler economic growth and a biting trade war between China and the United States which has sapped investor confidence.

Meituan Dianping’s other backers include venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and DST Global, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd and state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd, as well as the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. ($1 = 6.9353 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Josh Horwitz in HONG KONG and Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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