Why This Analyst Is Very Positive on GrubHub

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GrubHub Inc. (NYSE: GRUB) has posted solid growth in both sales and earnings since its 2013 merger with Seamless. Even now, this food delivery company is continuing to make solid gains. Undoubtedly, this has caught the attention of one key independent research firm.

Argus is launching coverage of GrubHub with a Buy rating and a $52 price target, implying an upside of 29% from Wednesday’s close at $40.35. The firm also set a 2016 adjusted earnings forecast of $0.90 per share, up 32% from $0.68 in 2015. It projects a further 29% increase in 2017 to $1.16 a share.

The company has a network of more than 45,000 participating restaurants, and it is working to expand this network and grow the number of active diners using it service. Given this positive outlook, Argus believes that GrubHub shares are favorably valued at current levels.

Argus detailed in its report:

We expect 2016 revenue to benefit from increases in the number of active diners placing orders on Grubhub, in the number of restaurants appearing on the Grubhub platform, and in average commission rates (as more restaurants pay higher commissions in order to appear higher in search results). At the same time, we expect margins to narrow slightly, driven by higher expenses related to the aggressive buildout of the company’s delivery infrastructure. Our 2017 forecast assumes further growth in both the customer base and average commissions, as well as stronger cost controls.

Over the past quarter and past year, shares have substantially outperformed, aided by a 23% surge on July 28 after the company reported stronger-than-anticipated quarterly earnings. Over the past three months, the shares have risen 31.0%, compared to a 3.6% gain for the S&P MidCap 400. Over the past year, they have gained 47.0%, versus a 9.8% increase in the index.

Shares of GrubHub closed Wednesday up 1.7% to $40.35, with a consensus analyst price target of $43.41 and a 52-week trading range of $17.77 to $44.58.