After the shares of Jumia, the African e-commerce unicorn in which South African telecom operator MTN holds 30%, surged on its NYSE listing, MTN’s stake in Jumia is now worth about $8.2 billion.
MTN might still sell a significant part of its stake in Jumia, the Business Day reported. Jumia’s shares rose 75 percent in New York on Friday, valuing the e-commerce company at $1.6 billion. With that, MTN’s shares rose to the highest level since its troubles with regulators in Nigeria, on Monday.
When MTN sells its stake in Jumia, it will raise a sizeable chunk of valuable cash. Nigeria’s tax claim on Jumia has been lowered to $53 million from $8.1 billion. Investors will probably be able to take a proper call on making technology investments in Africa only after MTN’s taxation issue with Nigeria is resolved, in spite of the Jumia IPO.
Jumia has cumulative losses of $935 million. In 2017, it’s loses were $187 million, which rose to $192 million in 2018. Critics accuse Jumia’s founders of using the public listing as a strategy to exit from a loss-making venture. Other e-commerce ventures in Africa had a tough time as well.
Jumia’s Nigerian rival Konga was taken over after firing more than half of its employees in 2018. Technology investment behemoth Naspers had to withdraw twice after entering the Kenyan e-commerce market. Francophone Africa distributor CFAO also suspended its e-commerce venture Africashop.