ABUJA (Reuters) – Jumia, the African e-commerce company of German start-up investor Rocket Internet, has filed for a New York initial public offering, which could value the firm at $1.6 billion or more.

Jumia, founded in 2012 offers online shopping, logistics and payment services, but is losing money. The company says its business is expanding, and the continent’s development will make it a better market, with a growing young population, more infrastructure investments, urbanisation and rapid economic growth.

The New York filing did not say how many shares Jumia would sell, nor at what price. Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Berenberg and RBC Capital Markets are leading the IPO.

In December, Jumia was valued at 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) with shares at 14.74 euros, according to the filing.

Jumia, which now counts Nigeria as its largest market, makes money both selling its own products, and taking a cut from third-party sales. In 2018, revenues were 130.6 million euros, up from 94 million euros the previous year.

However, losses also rose, from 165.4 million euros in 2017 to 170.4 million euros in 2018. By the end of December, accumulated losses were 862 million euros, the firm said.

In the IPO prospectus Jumia said that the value of goods sold on its platforms is increasing at a more rapid pace than losses – from 507.1 million euros in 2017 to 828.2 million euros in 2018.

Jumia’s active users, people who buy something at least once in the past year, increased to 4 million at the end of last December form 2.7 million a year earlier.

Apart from Rocket Internet, which owned 21.74 percent of Jumia as of the end of December, MTN Group held 31.28 percent. Other, smaller shareholders include Millicom International, AXA Africa Holding and Goldman Sachs.

($1 = 0.8857 euros)

Reporting by Paul Carsten; Additional reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Susan Fenton