Deliveroo makes huge loss on food delivery business

Deliveroo delivery bags and driver Image copyright AFP

Losses have risen sharply at the gig economy food delivery firm, Deliveroo, according to its latest accounts.

The company, incorporated under the name Roofoods, made a worldwide loss of £129m in 2016, up from £30m in 2015.

Deliveroo made sales of £128.56m, up from £18.1m, but the cost of getting the goods to customers was £127.47m, leaving it a wafer-thin profit margin.

On top of that the company has been funding an international expansion plan.

Deliveroo is now in 12 countries, including Germany and Singapore.

It connects thousands of bike couriers to customers wanting food from restaurants that do not have their own delivery system.

Deliveroo does not employ its riders directly, but pays them per delivery - hence the term "gig".

In July the company said it would pay sickness and injury benefits to its 15,000 riders in the UK if the laws were changed.

Deliveroo said UK employment rules should be changed so that people who work for companies like Deliveroo can receive enhanced benefits and not lose the flexibility to work when they want.

'Heavy investment'

Last year the number of Deliveroo riders worldwide rose from 5,700 in 2015 to 26,500, a number that has carried on rising.

That rapid expansion was behind rising administrative expenses, which ballooned to £142m last year.

Its accounts also show it raised £208m from shareholders in 2016, representing 29% of the company.

A company spokesman said in a statement: "Deliveroo is investing heavily in new technology and new sites across the world.

'We are extremely proud that in only four years Deliveroo now works with over 30,000 riders and 20,000 restaurants to deliver great-tasting food in over 140 cities around the world."

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