initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Chinese Electric SUV maker Li Auto seeks up to $950 million in U.S. IPO

Li Auto Inc., a Chinese electric carmaker, is seeking as much as $950 million in a U.S. initial public offering.

The Beijing company, which develops, manufactures and sells smart SUVs, plans to sell 95 million shares at $8 to $10 apiece, it said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Li Auto would join other EV makers in tapping the U.S. capital market. Shares of Nio Inc., a Chinese rival, have close to doubled since it went public in 2018. Nikola Corp. went public this year through a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company, while Fisker Inc. is in talks to do the same.

China is the world’s largest market for EVs, but the competition is starting to squeeze out some companies. At least three have wound down their operations this year amid plummeting demand and a Tesla Inc. offensive that put Elon Musk’s company atop the sales charts.

In that climate, some Chinese startups view IPOs as a way to ensure survival. WM Motor Technology Co. is weighing an initial stock sale in Shanghai as soon as this year, people familiar with the matter said. Hozon New Energy Automobile Co., which is pushing into rural areas and lower-tier cities, said July 24 it wants to go public in Shanghai as soon as next year.

Li Auto, which makes SUVs that cost between $21,000 and $70,000, plans to launch a premium vehicle in 2022, it said in the filing. The company sold about 10,400 of its flagship model Li One as of the end of June.

It has yet to turn a profit. The carmaker, founded in 2015, reported a net loss of 77 million yuan ($11 million) in the three months ended March, about a fifth of the loss reported in the same period last year. It only started reporting revenue in 2019.

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