July 28, 2020 / 5:46 AM / 6 days ago

UPDATE 2-Delivery Hero raises sales outlook after lockdown boost, plans Japan launch

(Adds interview with CEO, share move, context)

By Linda Pasquini

July 28 (Reuters) - German online takeaway food company Delivery Hero raised its 2020 sales forecast on Tuesday after coronavirus lockdowns and investment in ultra-fast deliveries led it to report better-than-expected quarterly revenue.

The Berlin-based company, which operates in more than 40 countries, also announced plans to enter the Japanese market in the third quarter, with an initial investment of 20-30 million euros.

Delivery Hero has experienced a steady rise in demand since it increased its restaurant offering and expanded in grocery delivery when the coronavirus pandemic forced consumers to stay at home and order online.

Its results statement on Tuesday raised its full-year outlook to between 2.6 billion euros and 2.8 billion euros ($3.05 billion-$3.28 billion) from its previous 2.4-2.6 billion euro forecast.

Second-quarter revenue nearly doubled to 612.1 million euros from 314.7 million euros a year ago.

Analysts at Jefferies said the quarterly revenue and the 2020 outlook were better than expected.

Delivery Hero's shares rose more than 3.5% on the news, but eased to around flat at 1200 GMT as the German midcap index traded slightly negative.

Chief Executive Niklas Oestberg told Reuters in an interview he hoped to maintain high growth as demand recovered in regions hit by strict restrictions on movement that are being relaxed.

He also said the company expected most of the newly acquired customers to stay.

"Overall, I think we will keep on growing very fast, with or without (COVID-19)," he said.

The group maintained its guidance for an adjusted group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) margin of negative 14%-18% in 2020.

It scaled back additional investments for the year to up to 150 million euros, including money earmarked for expansion in Japan, from up to 200 million euros announced previously, saying weaker competition meant the company needed to spend less to protect its market share.

$1 = 0.8524 euros Reporting by Linda Pasquini; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Barbara Lewis

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