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UPDATE squeezes out core profit on strong order growth

(Adds CEO quote, details)

AMSTERDAM, July 31 (Reuters) - Dutch food delivery company said on Wednesday it became profitable on an operational level in the first half of 2019, as the acquisition of the German businesses of rival Delivery Hero drove orders up 70%.

Takeaway, which on Monday announced a $10 billion all-share deal to merge with British rival Just Eat Plc, said operating profit came in at 1.8 million euros ($2 million), on 185 million euros in sales, in the first half of 2019.

Takeaway's deal with Just Eat would create the world's largest food delivery company outside China, and comes only months after the company's 930 million euro move for market domination in Germany.

Both deals highlight Takeaway's strategy of scaling up its business to stay ahead of competitors such as Amazon-backed Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

" will continue to prioritize sustainable growth over profit," Chief Executive Jitse Groen said.

Online food delivery was still relatively small in Europe's major economies, he added.

Takeaway's German deal widened its net loss to 37.5 million euros in the first half of the year, up from 14.7 million euros a year earlier, while revenues jumped 68%.

($1 = 0.8966 euros) (Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Stephen Coates)