It was bullet in the heart of Jumia stock, the amazon of Africa which has recorded more than 160% increase in stock price movement since April when it came to the New York Exchange for listing. However, Jumia Technologies AG shares sank nearly 19% in Thursday trading after Citron Research’s Andrew Left, a noted short seller, alleged in a report that it has the “smoking gun” that shows why Jumia equity is “worthless.”
“In 18 years of publishing, Citron has never seen such an obvious fraud as Jumia,” the report said. Citron goes on to highlight what it calls “material discrepancies” between the confidential investor presentation from October 2018 and what the company told the Securities Exchange Commission.
The differences include: inflating active customer and active merchant numbers by 20% to 30%; and that 41% of orders were returned, not delivered or canceled. Among the risk factors highlighted in the IPO prospectus was the fact that many deliveries failed. Jumia JMIA, -25.25% said that 14.4% of GMV in 2018 either failed to deliver or was returned.
“Assuming 41% of orders were returned, not delivered, or canceled in 2018, this implies that almost 30% of orders were canceled in 2018,” Citron wrote. “Since Jumia primarily sells consumer electronics, which should not have this high of a cancellation rate, it wreaks of fraud.”
Just this week, research analysts initiated coverage of Jumia stock with bullish assessments of the company’s future. Many cited the growth potential for Jumia as the African continent currently has less than 1% e-commerce penetration. Moreover, Jumia has created payments and logistical platforms designed to grow digital transactions across the continent, which is still very reliant on cash transactions.
“We believe this deep local knowledge and payments and logistics systems provide Jumia with competitive advantages versus potential new market entrants,” said Raymond James, which rated Raymond James stock market perform.
“When a company markets to investors ahead of its IPO and then a few months later omits material facts and makes material changes to its key financial metrics to make the business seem viable, this is securities fraud,” the report says.
Citron also references media from Nigeria, Jumia’s biggest market, accusing Jumia of fraudulent activity. Jumia shares began trading on April 12, and soared 160% as of early this week. Shares were priced at $14.50.