MTN to offload sizeable Jumia stake to pay down debt and finance expansion in new markets

3 May 2019

A report from Bloomberg suggests that pan-regional wireless operator MTN Group plans to offload ‘at least half’ of its USD655 million interest in newly listed Jumia Technologies – a Berlin-based e-commerce services provider which offers online products as well as delivery of packages to consumers in Germany and 14 countries in Africa – as the South Africa-based carrier looks to pay down debt and enter new markets. According to people familiar with the matter who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of discussions, a selldown of the 19% stake in the online retailer could happen ‘before the end of the year’. However, they note that MTN – the biggest single stakeholder in what is sometimes called Africa’s Amazon – first needs to wait out a half-year investor lock-in period that followed Jumia’s successful share sale in New York, in April. ‘We have a six-month lock-up period where we can’t sell our shareholding,’ an MTN spokesman confirmed, adding that after that ends, it will take a view on what to do with the investment.

South Africa, MTN Group