MTN Group Ltd. is planning to sell part or all of its $243 million interest in Jumia Technologies AG as Africa’s biggest wireless carrier looks to pay down debt and enter new markets, according to a Bloomberg report.
According to the report, MTN, which had previously marked the online retailer as a non-core business, is reviving plans for a sale after Jumia’s shares surged 142% this year, recovering from a dip in 2019. No final decisions about the sale have been made, the report said because the plans are private.
MTN has been disposing of non-core assets as part of the group’s’s strategy to reduce debt and drive future growth. The company also has a 29% stake in IHS Towers, which it may sell in the future, the report said. Africa’s largest wireless carrier by footprint has generated 14 billion rand ($812 million) in asset sales that included selling its towers holdings in Ghana
The report noted that a spokeswoman for MTN declined to comment because the company is in a closed period ahead of financial results. A representative for Jumia also declined to comment.
Called Africa’s Amazon, Jumia operates in 14 African countries including Nigeria and Ivory Coast where the U.S. giant still lacks distribution infrastructure. The company — headquartered in Germany and run by its two French founders, Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara — had dropped below its initial public offering price in 2019 after improper transactions in its Nigeria business were uncovered.