July 25, 2020 / 10:08 AM / 13 days ago

Chinese electric vehicle maker Li Auto aims to raise up to $950 million in growth push

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese electric vehicle maker Li Auto Inc, backed by food delivery giant Meituan Dianping, has launched an initial public offering of up to $950 million, in one of the biggest U.S. listings by Chinese companies this year.

The five-year-old automaker, formerly known as CHJ Automotive, is selling 95 million American depositary shares (ADDS) at an indicative range of $8 to $10 per share, according to its updated prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Each ADS represents two Class A ordinary shares.

Private equity firm Hillhouse Capital plans to invest $300 million in the float, the company said in the filing.

The IPO is the latest gauge of U.S. investor demand for Chinese companies going public.

For Li Auto and some others, prestige and listed comparables continue to propel them toward a U.S. listing in spite of escalating Sino-U.S. geopolitical tension and negative sentiment toward Chinese firms following fallout from Luckin Coffee.

Li Auto’s rival, Xpeng, plans to go public in New York later this year, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

At $950 million, Li Auto’s IPO would surpass the $510 float by cloud service provider Kingsoft Cloud which has been the biggest U.S. listing by a Chinese firm this year.

Alongside the IPO, Li Auto will also raise $380 million from a concurrent private placement of shares to investors including Meituan Dianping via its British Virgin Islands-incorporated unit, and TikTok owner ByteDance via a Hong Kong unit.

The automaker plans to use most of the proceeds raised for capital expenditures, and research and development of new products. It is building Li ONE extended-range electric sport-utility vehicles in China.

It is set to price the float on July 30 and begin trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol “Li” the next day.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS and CICC are among underwriters for the IPO.

Reporting by Julie Zhu; Editing by Robert Birsel

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