Online takeaway service Just Eat said it would improve its margin this year after revenue rose 43% to £779.5m and underlying core earnings grew by 6% in 2018. 

The British company has faced calls from shareholder Cat Rock to merge with an online delivery rival.

It said today it now expected to grow its marketplace margin year-on-year and to see its Canadian business, SkipTheDishes, reporting its first full-year underlying earnings. 

For the overall business, revenue underlying core earnings rose 6% to £173.9m in 2018. 

It said it expected to report full-year 2019 revenue in the range £1-1.1 billion and underlying core earnings of between £185-205m, both excluding its shares in online delivery firms in Brazil and Mexico. 

Interim chief executive Peter Duffy said more than 4 million new customers ordered from Just Eat in 2018, taking its total number of active customers to 26 million. 

"We have a clear plan for the year ahead," he said today. 

Duffy stepped into the role abruptly vacated by Peter Plumb in January, only 16 months after Plumb joined Just Eat and launched an investment drive that slowed earnings growth. 

Plumb launched Just Eat's own delivery service to address intensifying competition from Deliveroo and Uber Eats, but the lack of a commitment to raise margins cost him the support of shareholder Cat Rock. 

The activist investor, which also has a stakes in Dutch-listed Takeaway.com, said last month that Just Eat could generate "significant value" by negotiating a merger with one of its peers.