(Corrects to say GTV was in line with expectations, not above, in headline and paragraphs 1-2, corrects Q1 GTV to 6.55 billion in paragraph 2)

April 17 (Reuters) - Just Eat Takeaway reported first-quarter gross transaction value (GTV) in line with expectations on Wednesday, supported by growth in its key UK and Ireland markets.

It posted a GTV of 6.55 billion euros ($6.95 billion) for the first three months of 2024, matching analysts' average estimate in a company-provided consensus, according to Deutsche Bank.

Its GTV grew by 11% in the UK and Ireland and by 5% in Northern Europe, another key market, offsetting an 11% drop in North America and a 15% decrease in Southern Europe and Australia, the company said.

"We are excited that the investments in our business are paying off, and we are looking forward to the rest of the year," CEO Jitse Groen said in a statement.

In mid-January, Groen said Just Eat would continue to invest in Britain, its biggest market, while "competitors have to drive down the investments."

Europe's biggest food delivery company by revenue had earlier said it was boosting profits by improving its algorithms and IT systems, which reduces its cost per delivery.

The group said it was still exploring a partial or full sale of its struggling U.S. unit Grubhub.

On Monday, it announced its exit from New Zealand.

The group confirmed its financial outlook announced in late February. ($1 = 0.9425 euros) (Reporting by Michal Aleksandrowicz in Gdansk; Editing by Jamie Freed and Savio D'Souza)