Shares In Chinese EV Firm Zeekr Soar On Debut

Shares in Chinese electric carmaker Zeekr rose more than 30 percent over their initial public offering (IPO) price in trading on Friday amidst strong demand from investors on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), valuing the company at just under $7 billion (£5.6bn).

The listing is the first major US IPO by a Chinese company since 2021, when ride-hailing firm Didi Global was forced to delist from the NYSE amidst opposition from Chinese authorities.

The Chinese government has since eased its restrictions on foreign listings and last year released a set of rules governing IPOs after resolving a long-standing dispute over audits with the US accounting regulator in December 2022.

Zeekr, which is controlled by Volvo and Lotus owner Geely Automobile, sold 21 million American depositary shares (ADS) to raise about $441m.

Zeekr’s 001 electric vehicle. Image credit: Zeekr

Expanded listing

The company had earlier planned to sell 17.5 million ADSs at between $18 and $21 apiece but expanded the IPO amidst strong demand from investors.

“Zeekr is a global brand, and choosing to list in New York further demonstrates its global capabilities,” said Zeekr chief executive and Geely president Conghui An.

“Zeekr’s improved performance in China recently has given investors the confidence to subscribe to the IPO,” said Cao Hua, a partner at Shanghai-based Unity Asset Management, in a research note.

Geely formed Zeekr in 2021 and makes vehicles including the Zeekr 001 and Zeekr 009 cars, the Zeekr X compact SUVand the Zeekr MIX multipurpose vehicle.

Zeekr’s 001 electric vehicle. Image credit: Zeekr

Strong sales

The firm has seen robust sales this year, mostly in the domestic market, with 16,089 units in April, up 24 percent over the previous month, and 49,148 units in the first four months of the year, up 111 percent over the same period last year.

It remains unprofitable, with a net loss of 8.26bn yuan ($1.14bn, £910m) in 2023 and 7.66bn in 2022.

Sales of pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars in mainland China increased 35 percent year-on-year to 2.48 million units in the January-to-April period, according to the China Passenger Car Association, amidst surging competition and a price war that last month contributed to Tesla’s biggest revenue drop since 2012.

Tesla’s shares are down more than 30 percent so far this year, while US EV makers Rivian and Lucid are trading at a fraction of the prices they fetchat their respective IPOs in 2021.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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