GrubHub Inc Could Beat Earnings Estimates

GrubHub Inc Could Beat Earnings Estimates

GrubHub looks well-positioned as the new year begins, with several drivers expected to boost the company’s earnings results this year. The next earnings report is expected on or around Jan. 26.

Key growth drivers for GrubHub

In spite of what the food delivery company has going for it though, its stock is down by about 18% from its highest point, although it still remains up by more than 9% since the company’s initial public offering in April 2014.

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Canaccord Genuity analysts believe this is related to problems within the broader sector and also “nervousness” regarding competition and the company’s evolution rather than issues with GrubHub itself.

In a report dated Jan. 7, 2015, analysts Michael Graham and Austin Moldow said one of the company’s main growth drivers is going to be its continued penetrations in major cities instead of second-tier markets. They say the unit economics of this are “the most attractive,” noting that they rose “substantially” last year as GrubHub saw an increase in incremental profit per order from $2.76 to $3.10.

GrubHub estimates seem too low

The Canaccord Genuity analysts also said their estimates for the company’s fourth quarter appear to be conservative. In particular, they think GrubHub will see growth in active diners, but they’re currently modeling it to be flat with last year’s.

They note that the company spent about 50% more on sales and marketing. They’re also projecting a slight sequential decline in take rate, but they note that the company will continue seeing tailwinds from the acquisition of Seamless.

The analysts point out that GrubHub’s valuation is still at a premium, but they think that’s appropriate because the competitive landscape looks favorable right now. They like the company’s business model as well and think the biggest value proposition for it are going to be in discovering more restaurants, partnering with more restaurants, and providing diner service.

What’s next for GrubHub?

For this year, the Canaccord Genuity team expects the food delivery company to focus on its delivery strategy. They think the main goal will be increasing diner adoption in smaller markets starting next year. They believe management will “gradually” and “conservatively” approach this goal and expect GrubHub’s “high-incremental-margin model” to be able to build up to this.

They also expect to see the company create a sort of “hybrid model” combining the building of services and partnerships, which would create the highest level of financial efficiency possible. But those aren’t the only things GrubHub management is looking forward to this year.

GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney did a self-evaluation of his performance in 2014 in an interview with Fortune. He said in order to spark the kind of growth the company saw this past year, he had to change how he worked. He focused more on building relationships and trusting his team more and had to “continuously assess” how he had to shift around his responsibilities.

Canaccord Genuity maintained its Buy rating and $45 per share price target on GrubHub. Shares of GrubHub edged downward by less than 1% in early trading this morning.

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