Japan self-driving venture ZMP gets approval to list next month

The company logo of ZMP Inc. is seen on the body of a Robot Taxi Inc.'s Robot taxi, a self-driving taxi based on a Toyota Estima car body, during an unveiling ceremony in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, October 1, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese robotics startup ZMP Inc has received approval to list in Tokyo next month in an initial public offering worth up to $82 million, as it seeks funds to speed up its development of autonomous driving technology.

ZMP will sell about 3.5 million new shares and 6.6 million existing shares in the IPO, according to a regulatory filing to the Japanese finance ministry.

At the indicative price of 760 yen per share and including an overallotment arrangement in the event of strong demand, ZMP will sell about 8.8 billion yen of stock ($82 million).

Self-driving technology has grabbed the spotlight as major tech and car companies, such as Google parent Alphabet Inc, Tesla Motors and General Motors Corp, move into the field.

ZMP, founded in Tokyo in 2001, said in its prospectus it would use the funds for research and development to strengthen its self-driving technology as well as fund affiliate Robot Taxi.

ZMP will begin trading Dec. 19 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers Market for startups.

SMBC Nikko Securities is lead-managing the deal.

Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Clarence Fernandez