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LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - Online food delivery company Just Eat predicted another year of material growth on Tuesday after earnings nearly doubled last year, sending it shares up more than 7 percent.
The British firm, whose chief executive is about to step down due to urgent family matters, reported a 93 percent rise in underlying earnings to 115 million pounds ($140 million) in 2016 on revenue of 376 million, up 46 percent on a like-for-like basis.
Chief Financial Officer Paul Harrison said the market in Britain, Just Eat’s biggest, was competitive but there was plenty of room to grow as more people switched to ordering food online rather than by phone.
“There is a consensus among analysts for mid-to-late teens order growth in the UK, and we are comfortable with that, that is implicit in our guidance,” he said.
Orders in Britain rose 31 percent in 2016, a slowdown from 48 percent growth a year earlier.
Just Eat said it expected to deliver underlying core earnings between 157 million and 163 million pounds this year, at the top end of market expectations.
Analysts at Jefferies, who have a “buy” rating on Just Eat, said the company had a robust finish to 2016, underpinned by a “cracking operational performance”.
Just Eat shares, which fell 6.5 percent when the chief executive announced his resignation on Feb. 10, recovered all the losses after the results to trade 7.5 percent higher at 556.5 pence. ($1 = 0.8202 pounds) (Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton and David Clarke)