Delivery Hero sales leap during lockdownsDelivery Hero sales leap during lockdowns
FILE PHOTO: The Delivery Hero headquarters is pictured in Berlin

By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN (Reuters) – German online takeaway food company Delivery Hero <DHER.DE> reported a near doubling in first-quarter orders and revenue, with more people ordering meals and groceries from home after coronavirus lockdowns.

The Berlin-based company, which runs platforms for food delivery in 44 countries, said sales rose 92% to 515 million euros ($557 million). Though it suffered an initial negative effect from the coronavirus outbreak, the company said it has added 10% more new customers since the start of March.

The pandemic is expected to have a long-term impact on food ordering habits, it said, noting that it has attracted more older customers who might not have ordered from home before.

“Delivery Hero is evidently having a ‘good crisis’,” said Jefferies analysts Giles Thorne and Sebastian Patulea.

The company’s shares were up 2.1% at 0738 GMT.

Shares in rival Just Eat Takeaway <TKWY.AS> jumped earlier this month after it reported that orders had recovered strongly after a dip in March when lockdowns were first imposed.

Delivery Hero confirmed its outlook for 2020 revenue of between 2.4 billion and 2.6 billion euros, saying it would be able to absorb higher costs relating to the pandemic, particularly in the Middle East, where strict curfews have been imposed.

Other costs have included the launch of a support fund for delivery drivers, the distribution of face masks and sanitisers, additional marketing and free delivery for local restaurants, Chief Executive Niklas Ostberg told journalists.

“We can absorb those costs by slightly better performance during the rest of the year,” he said.

The company also confirmed its outlook for an adjusted core profit margin of between negative 14% and negative 18% and for Europe to remain at breakeven during 2020.

Delivery Hero works with more than 500,000 restaurants in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia.

It said it had added 50,000 new restaurants to its platform in the last three weeks of March, as well as 1,500 grocery stores and pharmacies as it accelerates expansions into delivery of other essential products.

Despite some restaurants switching to online delivery, Ostberg warned that many might not survive the pandemic, with those in the Middle East particularly hard hit by curfews.

“There will be restaurant fallout from this crisis,” he said.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Michelle Martin and David Goodman)