Lotus Tech Studies U.S., Hong Kong IPO to Fund Push Into EVs
(Bloomberg) -- Lotus Tech, which develops cars for the Lotus brand, is working on preliminary plans for an initial public offering in the U.S. or Hong Kong to help fund the transition of the iconic maker of sports and racing cars to an all-electric automaker.
The company is studying a potential IPO as soon as 2023 if sales go well, Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Feng Qingfeng said in an interview Tuesday. There’s also the possibility that Lotus Cars will list in the U.K., but no timetable has been set, he said.
Lotus Tech, which broke ground on its global headquarters in the Chinese city of Wuhan last week, is tapping the potential for sports cars in the world’s biggest auto market against a small pool of competitors including Porsche Automobil Holding SE and BMW AG.
Lotus is part of the auto empire of Li Shufu, who founded Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. and has long held ambitions of developing top-end sports cars. The unit plays an important role in the group, which offers diverse products ranging from affordable mass-market vehicles to the ultra-luxury racing cars made by Lotus.
Chinese motorists’ appetite for high-performance sports cars has proven to be surprisingly strong, with pre-orders for Lotus’ Emira sports car topping 3,000 since opening on Aug. 20. While a price hasn’t been set, British media has reported the vehicle will start at around 60,000 pounds ($83,000). The demand more than doubled company estimates, Feng said.
Half of Lotus’s total sales may come from China in five years, when annual global deliveries are forecast to reach about 120,000 to 150,000 units a year, he said. Lotus cars made in China will be exported to markets including the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands, starting in 2023, Feng added.
Lotus Tech, which last week announced an investment pact with a unit of Chinese EV maker Nio Inc., plans to start another fundraising round at the beginning of next year, Feng said.
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