Jumia, Africa’s largest e-commerce platform, has filed for approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to do an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
The public offering will give one of its largest shareholders, MTN the opportunity to sell about $600 million (R8.6 billion) in shares towards clearing its debt.
MTN’s debt increased to R63.6 billion at the end of last year, from R57.1 billion at the end of 2017.
Jumia operates a range of consumer e-commerce operations across the continent, including South African clothing retailer Zando. It has four million unique active African consumers, with 59,000 active sellers.
Last month Techcentral reported that MTN could be selling Jumia in New York at about the same time as an IPO of its Nigeria unit in Lagos, a move the carrier agreed to as part of a $1-billion (R14 billion) regulatory fine in 2016, .
The latter will be done in two stages, with an introductory listing in the first half of this year followed by a sell down of its majority stake, CEO Rob Shuter said recently.
The fillings seen by Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa on Tuesday confirmed news reports that the African unicorn company is going public.
Jumia did not state the timeline and share price but a report by Bloomberg last month placed its market value at $1.5 billion (R21 billion).
Some analysts believed the listing of Jumia shares on the New York bourse may be a good move for the company, but may not see a good appetite from investors, considering the company's persistent financial losses in its core markets.
In its three-year operating periods, Jumia incurred a loss for the year of €165.4 million in 2017 and a loss for the year of €170.4 million in 2018.
As of December 31, 2018, the e-commerce firm said it had accumulated losses of €862.0 million.
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