(Alliance News) - Just Eat Takeaway.com NV on Wednesday said it has started the year well, with an acceleration in gross transaction value growth in the UK and Ireland, though the food ordering platform still struggled in the US, where it continues to explore a sale of Grubhub.

The weakness in the North America division, comprised of 2021 acquisition Grubhub, meant that total group GTV was down 1.8% in the first quarter of 2024 to EUR6.55 billion from EUR6.67 billion a year before. Excluding North America, GTV was up 4%, or 3% at constant currency, which Just Eat noted is within its guidance range for 2024 of 2% to 6% growth.

In Northern Europe, Amsterdam-based Just Eat's largest division, GTV was up 4.6% to EUR2.00 billion from EUR1.91 billion. It was up 4% at constant currency, the company said.

By contrast, the smaller Southern Europe business weakened, with GTV down 15% to EUR495 million from EUR580 million, or 13% at constant currency.

The UK and Ireland was the standout region for the company, which was formed from the merger of the UK's Just Eat and Takeaway.com of the Netherlands. GTV was up 11% to EUR1.71 billion in the first quarter from EUR1.54 billion a year before.

The positive GTV performance mostly reflected price rises and order size. Total orders were down 6% across the group and 3% when excluding North America, though they were up 1% in UK and Ireland, the only region with a positive performance on orders in the first quarter.

Just Eat on Wednesday said it continues to "actively explore the partial or full sale of Grubhub", repeating similar statements made over the past year.

The company also said it has decided to end operations in New Zealand in coming weeks. It said the financial impact of this will be immaterial.

Looking ahead, Just Eat said it continues to expect to record adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of EUR450 million in 2024. Adjusted Ebitda in 2023 was EUR324 million.

The company also still expects positive free cash flow before changes in working capital this year.

By Tom Waite, Alliance News editor

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