Salem Radio Network News Monday, February 26, 2024

Business

China’s Zeekr reveals wider loss, Beijing influence in US IPO paperwork

By Niket Nishant

(Reuters) -China’s Zeekr Intelligent revealed wider losses for the first half of the year on Thursday and cautioned Beijing could influence its business, as the premium electric car brand made its paperwork public for a stock market listing in New York.

Zeekr, owned by Chinese automaker Geely Auto, had confidentially filed for its initial public offering (IPO) in December last year.

“The Chinese government exerts substantial influence over the conduct of our business and may intervene with or influence our operations as the government deems appropriate to further regulatory, political and societal goals,” Zeekr said in its prospectus.

The filing confirms a report from Reuters earlier on Thursday, which said Zeekr was looking to make its IPO prospectus public this week.

The company was aiming to raise more than $1 billion, Reuters previously reported, but is unlikely to breach the billion-dollar mark, according to one of the sources.

In February, Zeekr was valued at $13 billion after a $750 million funding round from investors including Amnon Shashua, CEO and founder of autonomous driving technology company Mobileye Global, and the Guangzhou city municipal government’s investment arm Yuexiu Industrial Fund.

For the six months ended June 30, Zeekr reported a net loss of 3.87 billion Chinese yuan ($531.34 million), compared with 3.09 billion Chinese yuan a year earlier.

Net revenue, however, more than doubled to 21.27 billion Chinese yuan in the same period.

The company’s current portfolio primarily includes three vehicle models. It plans to launch its first premium sedan model “targeting tech-savvy adults and families” this month.

IPO TO TEST FALLOUT OF SINO-U.S. TENSIONS

The listing could mark the first major float in the U.S. by a Chinese company in two years, after the infamous delisting of ride-hailing giant Didi Global from the New York Stock Exchange.

Didi had angered Chinese regulators by pushing ahead with its $4.4 billion New York listing despite being asked to put it on hold.

The episode, together with a longstanding audit dispute between China and the U.S., stalled Chinese companies from seeking U.S. listings. Only six mainland China-based companies launched U.S. IPOs in 2022.

Since then, however, Beijing has softened its stance towards companies looking to list internationally, unveiling a set of rules earlier this year to revive such listings, after the U.S. accounting watchdog and China solved the audit dispute in December 2022.

But simmering tensions between two of the world’s biggest economies over trade, intellectual property and the future of Taiwan continue to spill over into the corporate sphere.

In August, Intel had to scrap its $5.4 billion deal to buy Israeli contract chipmaker Tower Semiconductor after their merger agreement expired without regulatory approval from China.

A similar delay had also led to DuPont De Nemours ending its $5.2 billion deal to buy electronics materials maker Rogers Corp last year.

Zeekr will list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “ZK”.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are the lead underwriters for the IPO.

($1 = 7.2835 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Niket Nishant and Manya Saini in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Jaiveer Shekhawat and Mehnaz Yasmin; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Shilpi Majumdar)

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