Lockdowns around the world have been a boon for food delivery business Just Eat Takeaway (JET.L).
The takeaway platform posted a huge jump in annual sales on Wednesday, saying revenues rose by 54% to €2.4bn (£2bn, $2.8bn). The surge was driver by an increase in the number of returning customers, a higher number of average orders from each customer, and a higher average order value.
Chief executive Jitse Groen called it "an exceptional year" for the business.
"Right before the completion of the merger between Just Eat and Takeaway.com, the world was hit by COVID-19," he said. "This brought unprecedented challenges to our restaurants, consumers as well as to our organisation and staff, but it also created tailwinds for our business."
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Just Eat Takeaway operates across Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and parts of South America. The business runs a marketplace to connect customers to takeaway businesses and has building out its own network of delivery drivers akin to Deliveroo.
The company said it was continued to see strong growth in 2021. UK orders are up 88% since the start of the year and delivery orders are up more than 600% compared with the first two months of 2020. The business vowed to invest more to capitalise on this growth.
"We expect a further acceleration of our order growth in 2021 compared with last year," Greon said.
Adjusted earnings rose 18% go €256m but the company made a bottomline pre-tax loss of €151m. Just Eat Takeaway said the loss was driven by €102m of costs connected with last year's merger and the proposed takeover of GrubHub, a deal that was announced last June.
"Just Eat Takeaway.com is currently sacrificing profitability in order to scale its UK delivery capabilities," said Dan Thomas, an analyst at Third Bridge.
"Expansion may be coming at a considerable cost, but it remains a vital route to new customers in a fierce marketplace, where Deliveroo is poised to IPO."
Deliveroo recently revealed it lost £223m last year despite a jump in orders. The disclosure came as part of the company's IPO filings.
Shares in Just Eat Takeaway rose 2% in London.
Watch: Just Eat Takeaway CEO says 'company's never been as strong as it is today'