Rocket Internet Gains as Fashion Unit Shows Improving Financials

(Bloomberg) -- Rocket Internet SE rose as much as 3.1 percent in Frankfurt after one of its biggest startups reported rising sales and narrowing losses in the first half.

Sales at Global Fashion Group, an online apparel retailer in which Rocket owns 20 percent, rose 48 percent excluding currency effects to 456 million euros ($513 million), the company said Thursday. The adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization shrank to about 68 million euros from 121 million euros a year earlier.

“The operating momentum was strong in the second quarter, with continued growth and improving margins across all regions,” Global Fashion Group said in a presentation on its website.

Competition in the online fashion business is heating up, with the likes of Zalando SE and Asos Plc seeking to boost sales while warding off competitors including Inc., whose fashion site is expanding in Europe. Global Fashion Group is targeting emerging markets, combining apparel e-commerce sites in Asia, Africa, South America and Australia modeled after European incumbent Zalando.

The retailer raised 330 million euros in July, valuing it at 1 billion euros, less than half what it was worth last year. The downround contributed to a first-half loss of 617 million euros at Rocket Internet, it said last week. Rocket Internet will report full first-half numbers on Sept. 22.

Rocket Internet rose 2 percent to 18.13 euros at 12:20 p.m. in Frankfurt.