January 18, 2018 / 11:57 AM / 3 months ago

Online furniture retailer Home24 to float in early summer: Manager Magazin

BERLIN (Reuters) - German online furniture retailer Home24, in which Rocket Internet (RKET.DE) is a major investor, is preparing a stock market listing in early summer, Manager Magazin reported on Thursday, citing unidentified company insiders.

Home24 was not immediately available for comment.

Launched in 2011 by Rocket Internet, Home24 hopes to challenge Ikea’s dominance of the European furniture market, but the loss-making firm has grown much more slowly than online fashion sites and faced bigger logistics challenges.

Rocket Internet Chief Executive Oliver Samwer said in November that Home24 might need to explore raising more funds, but in an interview with Reuters last week dismissed the idea of merging Home24 with Rocket’s other furniture site Westwing.

Manager Magazin said Home24 was already in talks with potential investors and should be close to recording a profit by the time it is ready to list, with Samwer keen to take advantage of the current stock market boom.

Shares in Rocket Internet, which owns a 43 percent stake in Home24, were up 1.8 percent at 1151 GMT.

Home24 saw sales rise 10 percent in the first nine months of 2017 to 195 million euros, while its loss before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization almost halved to 18 million euros.

When Home24 last raised capital in 2016, its valuation was slashed by more than half to 420 million euros ($514 million). Other investors include Sweden’s Kinnevik (KINVb.ST) and Baille Gifford.

Rocket Internet last year listed its two biggest investments, online food sites HelloFresh (HFGG.DE) and Delivery Hero (DHER.DE).

However, that did little to help Rocket’s own share price, with its current market capitalization of 3.7 billion euros implying the market puts no value on its assets beyond its cash and its stakes in the two listed food firms.

($1 = 0.8167 euros)

    Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter

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