Big hit Down Under sees takeaway firm Just Eat slip into the red
Online takeaway delivery firm Just Eat has swung to a loss in 2017 after taking a mammoth hit on its Australia and New Zealand business, but cheered a record surge in orders.
The group - recently promoted to the FTSE 100 Index - slumped to a £76m pre-tax loss last year against profits of £91.3m in 2016 after taking a £180.4m charge on the acquisition of its Australian and New Zealand arm.
Just Eat said with the hit stripped out, it would have made a profit of £104.4m.
It posted underlying earnings of £164m - up 42% on 2016 - and forecast this to grow further in 2018, to between £165m and £185m. Recently appointed chief executive Peter Plumb - the former Moneysupermarket.com boss who took the helm last September - said he planned to step up investment across the UK and its overseas markets.
He said: "2017 was a record year for Just Eat. We helped 21.5 million customers order 172 million takeaways around the world, growing group revenue by 45% to £546m."
He added: "As the new CEO, I will be increasing our investment in brand, developing markets and delivery services that will be engineered to complement our thriving marketplace business by bringing more choice to our takeaway-loving customers."
But the group cautioned that competition was "intensifying" across some of its markets, such as Australia and New Zealand.
In the UK, it recently snapped up rival Hungryhouse after being given the all-clear by competition watchdogs.