Goldman Sachs & MTN to invest $245M in Nigerian e-commerce firm Africa Internet Group (AIG)

AIG is the company behind Africa’s largest e-commerce company Jumia

Africa Internet Group (AIG) has secured €225 million ($245 million) in funding from investors including US bank Goldman Sachs, South African telecoms giant MTN and German startup incubator Rocket Internet. This is one of the biggest fund raising rounds for any Africa-focused technology company.
 
Last month, French insurer AXA purchased an 8% stake in AIG for €75 million, effectively valuing AIG at over $1 billion.
 
AIG is the company behind Africa’s largest e-commerce company Jumia. AIG was founded with an investment from Rocket in 2012, and entered a partnership with Swedish telecoms group Millicom the same year. AIG has gone on to create 71 different companies across 26 African countries, including the online delivery service HelloFood, a hotel booking company called Jovago, and the ride-hailing service Easy Taxi. Jumia, which is the largest of the group’s businesses, was launched in Nigeria and now operates in Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
 
Sacha Poignonnec, Africa Internet Group’s Co-CEO, says the new funding reflects the business’s “huge growth potential”, as investors look to profit from the increasing number of African consumers going online.
 
Revenues for the overall group increased by 282 per cent in 2015, helping the company’s valuation to more than double in little over a year.
 
Jules Frebault, an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs, says the bank was attracted by the AIG’s reach across the continent and “execution capabilities”, giving AIG “a leading role in the development of Africa’s online economy”.
 
Frebault added that shareholders were likely to consider an IPO “at some point,” and said the option is “on the table for the future,” but declined to give further details.
 
Investors see potential in companies that are looking to reach the increasing numbers of African consumers that are expected to go online in the coming years.
 
McKinsey, the professional services firm, says about a third of the African population has internet access but predicts that this will rise to 50 per cent by 2025, and will include 360 million smartphone owners.
 
Source: Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com & World business, finance, and political news from the Financial Times – FT.com

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