Just Eat sees growth in 2021 even as pandemic eases

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Just Eat expects further growth in 2021 after a surge in business during the COVID-19 pandemic helped it meet expectations for full-year 2020 earnings, the online food-ordering and delivery company said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: The app for Just Eat is displayed on a smartphone in this posed picture in London, Britain, August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

It expects to win market share in Britain in 2021, and achieve revenue growth, despite plans by rival Deliveroo for a stock market listing in London, CEO Jitse Groen said.

“We are quite a bit larger, and we’ll do our best to compete with them,” he said, citing a 88% surge in orders there in the first two months of 2021.

Takeaway also competes with Uber in its biggest European markets - Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.

Demand for food-delivery services boomed last year as government-imposed curbs shuttered restaurants and customers stayed at home.

Takeaway’s 2020 revenues rose 54% to 2.40 billion euros ($2.85 billion) in 2020, in line with analysts’ expectations of 2.39 billion euros, according to Refinitiv data.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to 256 million euros, from 217 million euros a year earlier.

The figures were adjusted to account for Takeaway’s $7.8 billion takeover of Britain’s Just Eat in April 2020, as if it had owned the company in both years.

Groen said order growth would continue even as pandemic-driven deliveries eased in various markets over the course of 2021. But the company did not issue an earnings outlook, saying it intended to sacrifice profitability to win market share.

The company reported a net loss of 151 million euros for 2020, widening from 103.1 million euros in 2019.

Last year Takeaway also agreed to buy U.S. peer Grubhub in a $7.3 billion deal that would make it the largest food delivery company outside China.

It reiterated on Wednesday that deal is set to close in the first half of 2021, pending approval from Grubhub shareholders.

Shares in Takeaway rose 2.6% to 82.16 by 0825 GMT, but below the nearly 100 euros they traded for in June when it announced the all-share offer for Grubhub.

Takeaway said it had rejected a 2.3 billion euro offer for its 33% stake in iFood of Brazil, which is majority owned by tech giant Prosus. It did not name the bidder.

($1=0.8425 euros)

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Aditya Soni and Pravin Char