February 13, 2020 / 6:45 AM / 12 days ago

Takeaway reports core profit, 79% revenue jump, as Just Eat buy looms

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Just Eat Takeaway.com NV(TKWY.AS), the Dutch-based online food ordering service, on Thursday reported strong revenue growth and a small core profit for 2019, the last year before its takeover of larger British peer Just Eat PLC (JE.L).

Takeaway, which declared its $7.8 billion takeover of Just Eat unconditional in January, reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 12.3 million euros ($13.4 million) after a loss of 11.3 million a year earlier..

Net revenue surged 79% to 415.9 million euros, fueled by growth and its 930 million euro acquisition of Delivery Hero’s German operations in April.

Takeaway is awaiting final approval of its Just Eat buy from Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

“We are very excited about the opportunities the combination makes possible and are looking forward to 2020,” said CEO Jitse Groen, who will personally own a stake of around 11% in the combined company.

Takeaway’s stock has surged since it became clear that its all-share offer for Just Eat would win out in a months-long battle with rival Prosus (PRX.AS), which was offering cash.

Takeaway shares have risen 19.5% year to date and closed at 98.3 euros per share on Wednesday.

As of Feb. 11, Takeaway held Just Eat shares representing 96.3% of voting rights and has launched a squeeze-out process to acquire the rest.

Just Eat Takeaway shares are already trading jointly on the London Stock Exchange, with the combined company’s market capitalization approaching 14 billion euros, making it the largest food ordering and delivery service outside China.

For the time being the companies must keep their operations and brands separate while the CMA researches whether the merger might hurt competition in Britain.

A first decision is due in early March. Takeaway has said it is confident it will win approval.

Takeaway said it would not issue any outlook for 2020, given the dramatic changes the merger will bring, including adding Just Eat operations in Canada and Australia. Its Brazilian operations may be sold.

On Jan 28, Just Eat (JE.L) said it expected to report 2019 core earnings of about 200 million pounds on revenue of around 1.0 billion pounds.

Takeaway’s 2019 net loss was 103.1 million euros, widening from a loss of 13.8 million in 2018.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; editing by Clarence Fernandez and Jason Neely

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