Just Eat swallows up online takeaway firms

Online takeaway business Just Eat has helped itself to another slice of the international market with a string of restaurant deals.

The company has swallowed up four businesses across Europe and South America in a £94.7m deal with Rocket Internet and foodpanda.

It will take command of online takeaway businesses La Nevera Roja in Spain; PizzaBohellofood in Italy; hellofood Brazil and hellofood Mexico.

The announcement certainly whetted the appetite of investors, as shares soared 9% to 395.3p.

Just Eat is already a dominant force in the Brazilian marketplace through its iFood brand - a joint venture with digital developer Movile - which recorded a 150% year-on-year growth to 1.1 million orders in December last year.

Chief executive David Buttress said the takeovers dovetailed with its ambition to buy businesses which reinforced its position as a leader in the international market for takeaway food.

The takeaway companies snapped up by the FTSE 250 firm grew orders by 83% on an aggregate basis last year, the company said.

But while the buy-outs of the businesses in Italy, Brazil and Mexico will be completed today, Just Eat will have to wait for approval from Spain's local competition watchdog before the takeover of the Spanish business can be finalised.

The company said the gross value of the assets owned by the firms it had bought were valued at £5m to 31 December 2014, while aggregate losses before tax were £13.1m over the same period.

Just Eat was valued at £1.5bn when it floated on the London stock market in April 2014.

Analyst David Reynolds at Jefferies said the deals consolidated Just Eat's competitive position and "brings forward the path to profitability."