China's EV maker Lixiang is said to have filed for US IPO of at least $500m

China's EV maker Lixiang is said to have filed for US IPO of at least $500m

Commercial buildings including the China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters, center, stand in the central business district of Beijing. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Chinese electric vehicle maker Lixiang Automotive has filed for a U.S. initial public offering, aiming to raise at least $500 million, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter, joining peers seeking to finance growth through stock listings. Lixiang, also known as CHJ Automotive, founded by entrepreneur Li Xiang, confidentially filed in December for the IPO, which will take place as early as the first half of 2020, said the people.

The Beijing-based carmaker has been working on the IPO since the summer of last year and hired Goldman Sachs as the main bank leading the deal, said the people. The listing comes amid what bankers and industry insiders describe as increasingly tough financing conditions for loss-making Chinese EV startups, which are competing for sales and fresh capital in a crowded market. Such firms also face cuts to government EV subsidies and need to produce convincing arguments about future profitability. If the IPO proceeds, Lixiang would become the second Chinese EV start-up to list in New York after NIO Inc’s $1 billion IPO in 2018. NIO’s shares have tumbled more than 40% since its debut despite better-than-expected third quarter results. Lixiang and Goldman declined to comment. China’s new energy vehicle market, which include plug-in hybrids and battery-only electric vehicles, is the world’s largest. Sales in the sector jumped almost 62% in 2018 even as the broader auto market contracted.

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