AMSTERDAM (April 20): Europe's largest meal delivery company, Just Eat Takeaway.com, scaled back expectations for growth in 2022, as it reported on Wednesday a decline of 1% in first-quarter orders, and said it was exploring a possible sale of GrubHub.
Referring to the US company it bought for US$7.3 billion last year, Takeaway said in a statement it was "actively exploring the introduction of a strategic partner into and/or the partial or full sale of Grubhub".
In a trading update, it added that it now expected "mid-single-digit growth" for its gross transaction value (GTV) this year, instead of the "mid-teens" predicted last month.
GTV measures the total value of food ordered and delivered.
The company handled 264.1 million orders in the first quarter, compared with an estimate of 286 million by analysts at JPMorgan.
"Our priority for 2022 lies in... strengthening our business," chief executive Jitse Groen said in a statement. "We expect profitability to gradually improve throughout the year, and to return to positive adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation) in 2023."
Takeaway, which posted a €1 billion loss for 2021, has been hit by reratings both of loss-making technology companies and those seen as beneficiaries of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Its shares, which have lost two-thirds of their value since an October 2020 peak above €100, closed on Tuesday at €26.10, slightly above their initial public offering price of €23 in 2016.
Sentiment has soured on the online food segment amid fierce competition since the GrubHub buy closed in June.
The combined company is worth just €5.8 billion (US$6.3 billion) at current prices.
Shareholders including Cat Rock, with 6.88% of shares, have called on Groen to dispose of GrubHub.
The company said that on an operational level it would try to focus on increasing revenue per order and cutting costs.
It increased its forecast for full-year adjusted EBITDA margin forecasts, marginally, to a range of negative 0.5%-0.7% of GTV, up from negative 0.6%-0.8%.