HelloFresh to be ready for autumn flotation: sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German meal kit company HelloFresh is preparing for a stock market flotation, which could come as early as autumn, but will only be launched if the pre-summer listing of peer Delivery Hero proves a success, people close to the matter said.

Rocket Internet, the ecommerce investor which launched Hello Fresh in 2011, has picked a new set of so-called global coordinators for the flotation, comprising Morgan Stanley MS.N, JP Morgan JPM.N and Deutsche Bank DBKGn.DE.

Berlin-based Rocket has built up dozens of businesses from fashion ecommerce to food delivery, but investors have become concerned about heavy losses and falling valuations for its key start-ups as well as a paucity of listings.

Rocket had early success with online fashion firm Zalando ZALG.DE, which listed in 2014 and has performed well since. But the investor pulled a flotation of HelloFresh in 2015 and has not brought any other companies to market yet.

HelloFresh, which delivers meal ingredients and recipes in seven European countries as well as the United States, Canada and Australia, was valued at valued at 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in a funding round in December.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Delivery Hero - Rocket’s biggest holding - is set to float before the summer break in a deal valuing one of Europe’s biggest start-ups at up to 4 billion euros.

Rocket, which is due to report first-quarter financial results on May 31, owns 53 percent of HelloFresh, with other investors including British investment manager Baillie Gifford and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund holding the rest.

HelloFresh’s revenue almost doubled to 597 million euros in 2016 as it expanded rapidly in North America, while losses before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization narrowed to 83 million euros from 86 million in 2015.

HelloFresh, which delivered 91 million servings in 2016 and saw its number of active subscribers rise 38 percent to 857,000, is keen to make its service ever more personalized and add more options for delivery, like wine and desserts.

U.S. peers Blue Apron and Sun Basket are also preparing initial public offerings (IPOs).

Separately, Rocket-backed Global Fashion Group said on Wednesday it had agreed with partner Emaar to jointly develop Namshi until a possible IPO or a full takeover.

Rocket Internet and the banks declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Maria Sheahan