Founded in Berlin by brothers Oliver, Alexander and Marc Samwer in
2007, Rocket has set up dozens of ecommerce sites, aiming to
replicate the success of Amazon and Alibaba in Africa,
Southeast Asia, Latin America and Russia.
But Europe's top Internet investor has seen its share price sag
since it listed in October 2014 on concerns about the scale of the
losses at start-ups ranging from online fashion to food delivery, as
well as delays to planned stock market listings.
The stock fell 9.8 percent by 0948 GMT (0548 EDT) on Thursday,
wiping out gains made this week after it sold a stake in the
start-up making the heaviest losses - Southeast Asian online
retailer Lazada Group - to Alibaba.
"Rocket has made some progress on financial reporting and
transparency but there are still too many one-off opaque
adjustments," said Jefferies analyst David Reynolds, who rates the
Chief Executive Oliver Samwer said several of Rocket's companies had
made major progress towards breaking even and repeated that three
should be profitable by the end of 2017.
"We want to show you a strong improvement in profitability," Samwer
told a presentation for investors. "2016 will be a good year. 2017
will be very good. 2018 will be a great year."
Samwer, a serial Internet investor who sold German online auction
site Alando to eBay <EBAY.O> in 1999, said the business had strong
cash reserves, including 1 billion euros at operating companies, 1.8
billion euros at Rocket and 1.6 billion euros raised from investors.
Revenue from Rocket's top companies rose 69 percent in 2015 to 2.4
billion euros. But their aggregate adjusted loss before interest,
tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was 1 billion euros, up
from 600 million in 2014.
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However, Rocket said the average adjusted EBITDA margin improved 6
percentage points to a negative 29.7 percent, driven by its online
fashion businesses, although losses kept mounting at its food
delivery and online general merchandise start-ups.
The biggest loss came at Lazada, meaning that Rocket's exit should
help it meet its promise that 2015 was a peak for losses.
Samwer said that home furnishings retailer Westwing and Russian
online fashion firm Lamoda were reining in marketing and delivery
costs due to scale benefits, while Delivery Hero and FoodPanda were
breaking even in some countries and regions.
Rocket reported strong revenue growth at meal delivery firm
HelloFresh, seen as a likely listing candidate, as well as at
African online retailer Jumia, although losses rose at both.
Samwer said that a target set last September to list one of its
start ups by early 2017 might have to be pushed back due to a focus
on improving operations, as well as volatile markets.
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Victoria Bryan and
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