Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE 4.93%) generated no revenue in the first quarter and posted a wider than expected loss, a fresh reminder of the challenges the space tourism company faces in the months to come.
On Monday after markets closed Virgin Galactic reported a first-quarter loss of $0.55 per share on zero revenue, well short of analyst expectations for a $0.27 per share loss on revenue of $330,000. The net loss of $130 million was an improvement over the $337 million net loss in the first quarter of 2020, and the company still has $617 million in cash on the books.
Virgin has struggled to get its space tourism operations airborne. The company had originally planned to launch founder Richard Branson into space in 2020, but a combination of pandemic-related complications and testing setbacks has pushed the target date into 2021 -- and potentially into 2022 if things don't pick up pace soon.
Investors knew coming into the quarterly results that Virgin Galactic would report a loss but were hoping to hear an update on whether the company would meet its self-imposed May deadline for the next test flight of a SpaceShipTwo spaceplane. The company could soon face competition: Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin earlier this month said it is opening up ticket sales for its rival service.
But Virgin Galactic said only that the timing of the next test "is currently being evaluated." Shares of Virgin Galactic, down 8.47% during Monday's trading session, were down another 5% in the hours after the release. The stock has lost nearly 70% of its value in the last three months.
CEO Michael Colglazier remains optimistic, saying in a statement that the company continues "to make strides toward our strategic objectives and have solid momentum as we focus on completing our flight test program."