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Just Eat Takeaway sacrifices margin to accelerate order growth

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Just Eat Takeaway.com NV (LON:JET) reported further acceleration of order growth in the fourth quarter and said it is examining which of London, Amsterdam or New York will be best for its long-term listing location.

The Anglo-Dutch online takeaway food ordering platform has shelved its immediate to delist from Amsterdam and, because of the requirement to list its shares in New York as part of its agreed acquisition of US-based Grubhub, it will “take a period of time in which to determine the optimal listing venues for its long term future”.

With approval for the Grubhub deal now obtained from regulators and shareholders, the group said it expects to complete in the first half of this year.

Meanwhile, order numbers in the final quarter of 2020 jumped 57% year on year, the third quarterly increase in succession, leading management to expect calendar-year revenues to be up more than 50% compared to the year before.

Underlying profit margins are expected to be “approximately 10%” after the significant investment made in delivery in the quarter, well down from the 42% in the first half of the year. 

“Our investment programme is very successful and has led to significant market share gains in most of our countries,” said chief executive Jitse Groen, adding that the increased investment had been crucial and led to “significant market share gains in most of our countries”.

Delivery orders in the UK were up 387% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with a year earlier, when the service was in its infancy, following “tremendous effort” and investment in improving the Just Eat UK business, including a new marketing strategy and doubled sales force.

The launch of its Scoober service recently in London, with other cities in the UK to follow, is expected to bring on further premium restaurants with its “very short delivery times, excellent service, and much lower delivery fees than its competitors”.

Management said they expects that UK delivery orders will “soon overtake the total food orders of the UK’s #3 player”.

Outside the UK, orders grew 47% in the quarter, with Australia’s 166% growth the most eye-catching.

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