Rocket Internet explores IPO of online shopping group Jumia: sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German start-up investor Rocket Internet is exploring a stock market listing of loss-making African online shopping platform Jumia, people close to the matter said.

FILE PHOTO - Rocket Internet CEO Oliver Samwer attends an interview with Reuters in Berlin, Germany, January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Rocket Internet, which helped set up the company in 2012, is seeking an exit from the consumer electronics and fashion retailer, in line with its strategy of selling or listing established internet firms.

The investor is expected to shortly mandate banks for an initial public offering of Jumia, which describes itself as Africa’s leading online shopping destination, they added.

Berenberg, which has a track record of working with Rocket on capital market transactions, is seen to be in a good position to win a mandate, the people said.

A listing of shares, in a volume of under 200 million euros ($245.7 million), could take place in late 2018 or in 2019, either in Frankfurt or in London, one of the people said.

No information on Jumia’s valuation was immediately available.

Rocket Internet declined to comment.

Last year, Rocket Internet floated online food groups Delivery Hero and HelloFresh, while the investor is currently also preparing a flotation of its online furniture retailer Home24.

Rocket Internet Chief Executive Oliver Samwer told Reuters earlier this year that the company needs to hold on to its mountain of cash so it can compete with rivals from the United States and China and pounce when investment opportunities arise.

Jumia has ecommerce operations in 14 countries throughout Africa, a continent with 1.2 billion consumers and 15 million small and medium-sized companies. It also features services such as an online hotel booking and a food delivery platform.

Jumia said in January that it had 1 billion visits on its pages across Africa in 2017. It has 50,000 merchants in its ecosystem, where 5 million products, hotels, restaurants and other services are listed.

According to a presentation from Rocket Internet, Jumia saw its adjusted loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization widen to 80.7 million euros in the first nine months of 2017. Revenues edged up to 57.3 million euros.

($1 = 0.8141 euros)

Additional reporting by Nadine Schimroszik; Editing by Edward Taylor and Adrian Croft