Zeekr, one of Chinese automaker Geely’s upmarket electric car brands, has confidentially filed for a U.S. initial public offering. The plans come as the brand sets its sights on marketing its 001 crossover – its first and only model – in Europe next year.
According to three people with firsthand knowledge of the situation, Zeekr, one of Chinese manufacturer Geely’s upscale electric car brands, has discreetly filed for a U.S. initial public offering, intending to raise more than $1 billion.
Zeekr is seeking a value of more than $10 billion in what would be the first large Chinese IPO in the United States in more than a year and a half, according to two people.
Zeekr US IPO
This contrasts to a valuation of about $9 billion in its initial external funding last year. The plans come as the company prepares to offer the 001 crossover – its first and only model – in Europe next year, competing with Tesla Inc and Chinese rival Nio Inc. As a result, it joins a rising number of Chinese manufacturers planning to begin or increase EV sales in the area.
The Zeekr expansion, on the other hand, demonstrates Geely’s more sophisticated EV approach. The automobile firm founded by Li Shufu presently houses seven brands that manufacture electric vehicles, three of which are high-end names.
A Zeekr IPO would be the first significant U.S. float of a Chinese corporation since Beijing tightened its control on foreign share sales in July last year, a change spurred by a cybersecurity inquiry into ride-hailing giant Didi Global shortly after its stock market debut in the United States.
The IPO filing comes after Beijing and Washington achieved a breakthrough auditing agreement in August, which significantly reduced the prospect of delisting for more than 200 Chinese businesses listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Zeekr filed with US authorities this week and plans to go public in New York as soon as the second quarter of 2023, according to two of the people and a fourth source with firsthand knowledge of the subject.
A private file allows corporations to withhold facts from competitors for a longer period of time and provides them more flexibility, especially when an IPO timeframe is not set.
Because the material had not yet been made public, the sources declined to be identified.
According to two of the individuals, Zeekr contemplated listing in Hong Kong as well, but chose New York in the hopes of attaining a larger valuation.
Luxury Geely Electric Car Brand
Geely, Zeekr’s public relations firm, declined to comment. It said in October that it will spin off Zeekr but did not specify a listing venue or the anticipated value of an offering. A successful offering might result in additional Chinese share sales in the United States, which is often regarded as having the world’s deepest pool of money and a more predictable listing pace. According to Refinitiv statistics, just five Chinese businesses have launched U.S. IPOs this year, raising a total of $162.5 million, a far cry from the $12.8 billion raised last year.
Geely, formally known as Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, founded Zeekr in April 2021 to capitalise on rising Chinese demand for luxury EVs. Later, it released the 001 crossover in China.
However, with numerous brands selling EVs, Geely faces a complication that larger EV producers BYD and Tesla have avoided in favour of vertical integration and a cost-cutting production technique.
Volvo, Polestar – an EV-only cooperation with Volvo aimed at the premium section of the market – and Lotus, a far more costly luxury British sports car brand, are among Geely’s other high-end EV brands.
The business also sells EVs under the Geely brand, as well as Smart, a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz, and Lynk & Co, a joint venture with Volvo that hopes to carve out a niche for EVs on a fixed-cost, subscription basis.
According to the China Passenger Car Association, Zeekr sold slightly over 60,600 cars in the first nine months of 2022, compared to around 285,900 Model Y crossovers for Tesla in China over the same period.
The 001 model starts at 299,000 yuan in China, which is slightly higher than the 288,000 yuan starting price for Tesla’s Model Y, which was recently reduced. Zeekr has not declared international pricing.
Geely Vehicle Holdings owns the Chinese automobile brand Zeekr. It was founded in 2021 and specialised on electric vehicles.
Zeekr, a Geely-owned electric vehicle manufacturer, plans to reach selected European markets in 2023 as part of a globalisation goal, according to its CEO.
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