China’s Zeekr set to debut on NYSE after upsized IPO

By Thomson Reuters May 10, 2024 | 5:49 AM

(Reuters) – Shares of China’s Zeekr Intelligent Technology were scheduled to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday after the electric-vehicle maker priced its initial public offering at the top end of its marketed range.

The debut would mark the first major U.S. listing by a Chinese company since 2021 and would test the investor appetite for such companies.

It would also be a barometer to gauge interest for EV makers, which have seen profits being eroded due to a fierce price war in China that has left automakers searching for opportunities outside their domestic markets.

A plunge in valuations of some high-flying names in the space could also spook investors. Rivian Automotive has lost 85% since its IPO in November 2021, while Lucid Group is left with a fourth of what it fetched when it signed a deal with a blank-check firm earlier that year.

Zeekr, however, upsized its IPO, indicating strong demand from investors. It sold 21 million American depositary shares (ADSs) at $21 each to raise $441 million. It had earlier planned to sell 17.5 million ADSs at a price between $18 and $21 apiece.

The IPO gives Zeekr a fully diluted valuation, which includes securities such as options and restricted stock units, of $5.5 billion at the high end of its targeted range, but still lower than the $13 billion it fetched after a funding round last year.

The number of Chinese companies that have pursued stock market flotations in the United States in the past few years has dropped, after Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global was forced to delist its shares following a backlash from Chinese regulators.

Beijing has since softened its stance and released a set of rules last year to revive such listings, after the U.S. accounting watchdog and China resolved a longstanding audit dispute in December 2022.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)