South African operator group MTN has dismissed reports that it is planning to divest some or all of its 40% holding in pan-African online retail firm Jumia.
According to Bloomberg, Jumia has been valued by MTN at $1 billion, and some of the operator’s investors have indicated a willingness to sell some shares in the unit. The outlet also reported that MTN could try to lure new investors with a private sale of Jumia stock.
However, MTN denied that it was considering a US IPO of Jumia as a debt reduction measure, with a spokesperson saying that the group “currently has no plans to dispose of its investment in Jumia in the short term”. Nonetheless, if MTN floated the unit successfully, it could significantly aid with alleviating the group’s ZAR69.8 billion ($4.8 billion) debt burden.
Jumia provides ecommerce services across 14 markets in Africa, and also provides online consumer services such as hotel bookings and food delivery.