Jumia Technologies raised US$196-million (R2.7-billion) in an initial public offering in New York, as the Africa-focused online retailer and marketplace looks to boost its profile and expand an ever-growing customer base.
Jumia sold 13.5 million American Depositary Shares at $14.50 each, in the middle of a marketing range of $13 to $16, it said in a statement on Friday. The shares will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol JMIA.
The listing caps seven years of growth for Jumia, which was founded by French entrepreneurs Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara in 2012 and now has more than four million customers in 14 African countries. While the retail platform isn’t profitable, sales jumped by almost 40% last year to €130.6-million.
Jumia employees rang bells at the same time to mark the flotation, according to a separate press release issued by the company.
“We’re going to continue to focus on our mission and to work even harder to help consumers, sellers, partners and all stakeholders benefit from this technological revolution,” Poignonnec and Hodara, who are also co-CEOs, said in the release.
The company has headquarters in Berlin and got early funding from German start-up incubator Rocket Internet, while its biggest shareholder is MTN Group. Often tagged Africa’s Amazon.com, it operates in countries where the US giant lacks distribution infrastructure and much presence.
The offering was led by Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada, Citigroup and Berenberg Capital Markets.