AFRICA – Jumia, the Pan-African ecommerce giant with a strong footprint on the continent has filed for an Initial Public Offering on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), making it the first African technology company to list on the exchange.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicated that Jumia has filed to launch its IPO on the NSE though the documents did not show the timeline of the listing and share price of the IPO.

According to a Reuters report, the African e-commerce company backed by MTN could be valued at US$1 billion or more with the listing.

The IPO is led by Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Berenberg and RBC Capital Markets.

Reports have it that the listing could also mark a possible exit by Rocket Internet, Jumia’s German parent company, divesting its remaining stake in the company.

According to the filing documents, Jumia which will operate on NSE as JMIA cites itself as “the only e-commerce business successfully operating across multiple regions in Africa” with four million active customers of December last year.

The company says its business is expanding, and the continent’s development will make it a better market, with a growing young population, more infrastructure investments, urbanisation and rapid economic growth.

Founded in 2012, Jumia is an online retailer operating in 11 countries in Africa and has grown to become one of the continent’s leading e-commerce brands.

Africa Internet Group (AIG), the parent company to e-commerce brands like Jumia and Jovago in 2016 became Africa’s first venture capital-backed business to be valued at US$1 billion after an US$83 million investment from insurance company AXA for an 8% stake.

Nigeria is Jumia’s largest market but is said to be losing ground to homegrown rival, Konga.

It boasts of Jumia Logistics, its inventory arm, and Jumia Pay, its payments solution in assets.

Jumia was founded by French entrepreneurs Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara, both 38, who each hold 2% of the company’s shares.

In December, Jumia was valued at €1.4bn with shares at €14.74, according to the IPO filings and in 2018 revenues were €130.6m (US$147.76 million), up from €94m (US$106.35 million) the previous year.

Jumia said by the end of December, accumulated losses were €862m (US$975.31 million).

Rocket Internet owned 21.74% of Jumia as of the end of December, while MTN held 31.28% and other smaller shareholders include Millicom International, AXA Africa Holding and Goldman Sachs.