EV startup Byton says China battery producer CATL to invest in it

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's dominant battery producer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) 300750.SZ has agreed to invest in Chinese-funded electric vehicle startup Byton, Byton said in a statement on Monday.

Byton would not disclose the size of CATL’s investment, but its spokeswoman said the battery producer is a “sizable investor” that participated in Byton’s $500 million Series B round of funding.

Global and local automakers are making a major push to beef up their electric vehicle capabilities in China, the world’s largest car market, where the government is driving a shift towards cleaner new-energy vehicles.

Other investors that took part in the latest round of funding in Byton include China’s state-owned automaker FAW Group [SASACJ.UL] and Tus-Holdings, according to Byton. Last month, Byton said FAW had invested $260 million in this funding round.

“Diversified strategic investors will further expand Byton’s circle of friends and broaden our development opportunities,” Byton’s president Daniel Kirchert said in the statement.

Byton last year raised $240 million in an earlier round of funding from investors including Chinese retailer Suning and Fullshare Holdings.

CATL did not respond to requests for comment.

Shares in CATL soared 44 percent on their debut in Shenzhen on Monday, the maximum allowed for newly listed stocks on their first day of trade.

CATL, based in southeast China’s Fujian province, sold 217 million new shares, or 10 percent of its enlarged capital, at an initial price of 25.14 yuan ($3.92) each.

Reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Miral Fahmy