BrandArena: Jumia Investment: Bad Business For MTN?

Friday 24 August 2018

Jumia Investment: Bad Business For MTN?

Africa’s leading e-commerce company, Jumia in 2016 raised over $326 million from Goldman Sachs, a U.S. investment bank; AXA, a French insurance multinational, MTN, a South African telecommunications giant, among other investors. But it seems the e-commerce shop is not earning the kind of return on investment investors are looking forward to in the last two years.

Few days ago, Bloomberg reported that South African telecom group, MTN is said to be considering selling off its stake in Africa’s online retailer, Jumia.

“MTN Group Ltd. is exploring a sale of shares in African online retailer Jumia, according to people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg wrote.

The company is said to be considering two options with the first one being listing Jumia. “Africa’s largest wireless carrier is considering an initial public offering of the Inc.-style business on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange,” Bloomberg.

This won’t be the first time the possibility of listing Jumia has been tossed around.

MTN is the biggest shareholder in Jumia with a 40% stake and the company currently values the internet company at $1 Billion.

According to Bloomberg, Jumia “has grown sales by between 70 percent and 90 percent annually since its inception in 2012”.

MTN, has however denied the report that it is looking to sell shares in African online retailer, Jumia, or considering an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the business in the United States (US) as part of effort to reduce debt.

Jumia operates in 14 African countries and has expanded its range of services to include platforms for online hotel bookings and food delivery. Despite denying any plans to offload the business in the near-term, a successful listing could help MTN reduce debt, which stood at 69.8 billion rand ($4.8bn) at end of June.

Jumia reached the threshold of 550 million visits across Africa in 2017. Other groundbreaking figures for 2017 include the number of products available on the platform which skyrocketed from 50,000 in 2012 to over 5 million in 2017.

Jumia saw a huge success of Black Friday with more than 100 million visits, breaking all previous sales records across all topline drivers (new customers, orders, items sold, visits).

The company launched its own payment platform, JumiaPay, to further facilitate transactions between merchants and consumers and tailor its solutions to specific local needs and requirements. Jumia launched a consumer-facing payment mobile application (`Jumia One´), enabling customers to easily access digital services such as Airtime/Data, TV, Utilities. Jumia One is gradually integrating more online and financial solutions to help consumers save time and money and access a large set of different services from a one stop shop App.

Over 8 million packages were handled through the Jumia logistic platform, a unique achievement. The company maintains close control over its logistics through a fully integrated network of local providers, using Jumia technology and data.

Whether MTN will sell its stake in Jumia or not, the future will tell.

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