The Visible Hand
TIM COHEN: Jumia listing may be an inflection point for African telecoms
Planned listing of one of three African 'unicorns' has some investors wondering if it’s an effort at sustaining a difficult business, or an attempt at fuelling a powerhouse growth trajectory
One of the most interesting African initial public offerings (IPO) is due to take place soon It is that of Nigeria-based online retailer Jumia, one of only three African “unicorns” — unlisted companies valued at more than $1bn. The listing is great news, but it has some investors wondering if it’s an effort at sustaining a difficult business, or an attempt at fuelling a powerhouse growth trajectory. The answer may be a little of both. The news of the possible listing has been around for a while. News agency Reuters reported from Germany in 2018 that German start-up investor Rocket Internet was preparing Jumia, in which MTN has a big stake, for a possible New York listing in the first quarter of 2019 which could value the firm at about $1bn. Few details were available at that point, except the potential value of the company of about $1bn, of which shares worth up to $250m were likely to be sold, which would mean the listing of a smallish stake. No final decision had been taken about ...