Zeekr is one of the premium electric car brands under the Chinese automaker, Geely. It files for a US initial public offering to raise more than $1 billion. The news was revealed by Reuters, saying three sources with direct knowledge reported.
According to two sources, the brand plans to seek a more than $10 billion valuation through the IPO. It is one of the first major Chinese floats in the US and is expected to raise as targeted. That compares with a valuation of about $9 billion in its maiden external fundraising last year. The plans come as the brand, which competes with Tesla Inc and Chinese peer Nio, sets its sights on marketing its 001 crossover – its first and only model – in Europe next year. In doing so, it joins a growing list of Chinese automakers looking to launch or expand sales of EVs in the region.
Geely’s increasingly complex EV strategy can be seen as Zeekr expanding to the US. The Automotive Group is led by Founder Li Shufu, which now houses seven brands manufacturing electric vehicles, of which three are high-end brands.
The brand’s IPO would be the first major U.S. float of a Chinese firm since Beijing tightened its grip on overseas share sales in July last year. A shift was triggered by a cybersecurity probe into ride-hailing giant Didi Global on the heels of its U.S. stock market debut. The IPO filing comes after Beijing and Washington reached a landmark auditing deal in August, sharply reducing the threat of delisting for more than 200 New York-listed Chinese companies.
Zeekr lodged its filings with U.S regulators last week and is planning to go public in New York as early as the second quarter of 2023, said two of the sources and a fourth source who also had direct knowledge of the matter. A confidential filing allows companies to keep details from rivals longer and gives them added flexibility particularly when a timeline for an IPO is not fixed.
Zeekr also considered Hong Kong as its listing venue but picked New York in the hope of achieving a higher valuation. Geely, which handles public relations for Zeekr, declined to comment. It said in October it would spin Zeekr off but did not identify a listing venue or the likely value of an offering. A successful listing could lead to more Chinese share sales in the United States, which is considered to be the world’s deepest pool of capital, and have a more predictable listing pace.