Published 12 Dec 2022 at 12:03
by Julie Zhu and Scott Murdoch
HONG KONG, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Zeekr, the electric car brand of Chinese carmaker Geely, has filed confidentially for a U.S. IPO to raise more than $1 billion (948.32 million), three sources told Reuters.
Zeekr looks set to hit a valuation of more than $10 billion, two of the sources said, in what would be the first major Chinese IPO in the U.S. in more than a year and a half.
In its first external fundraising round last year, Zeekr was valued at around $9 billion.
The project comes as the brand, a competitor to Tesla and its Chinese counterpart Nio, aims to market its first and only Model 001, an electric crossover, in Europe next year. It joins a growing number of Chinese automakers looking to launch or expand sales of electric cars in the region.
Zeekr filed with U.S. regulators last week and plans to go public in New York as early as the second quarter of 2023, said two of the sources cited as well as a fourth, all requesting anonymity.
According to two of the sources, Zeekr had also considered listing in Hong Kong, but chose New York in hopes of securing a higher valuation.
Geely, the PR officer for Zeekr, declined to comment. In October, the group stated that it wanted to separate from Zeekr, without, however, specifying the location of the IPO or the value of the offer.
Zeekr was established by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in April 2021 to capitalize on China’s growing demand for premium electric vehicles, and launched the 001 crossover in China later that year.
Beijing last July tightened its controls over listings of Chinese companies abroad following a cyber security probe at Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global, the day after it listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
An IPO could also pave the way for more sales of Chinese stocks in the US, seen as the world’s largest pool of capital, and offer a more predictable listing pace.
In 2022, only five Chinese companies entered the US market and raised a total of $162.5 million. The largest bid, from hotel group Atour Lifestyle Holdings in November, was $52.25 million.
In comparison, 12.8 billion dollars were raised last year. (Julie Zhu and Kane Wu in Hong Kong, Scott Murdoch in Sydney; French editing by Dagmarah Mackos; Editing by Kate Entringer)