BEIJING, March 16 (TMTPOST)— Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), the world’s leading electric vehicle (EV) batter maker, may push back its effort for offering in Switzerland amid emerging regulatory doubts in China.
Source: Visual China
CATL’s plan to raise no less than $5 billion through listing in Zurich has been postponed because the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) doubted whether it really needs such a large scale of offering, Reuters learned from people familiar with the matter. The power battery giant would have received approval from the regulator by the end of January; however, the review process lasted longer than expected, the news agency reported, without specifying future definite timetable.
The securities regulator’s concerns came after CATL’s domestic private placement in last June. With a price at RMB410.00 per share, the company raised RMB45 billion (US$6.56 billion), backed by private equity firm Hillhouse Capital Guotai, Junan Securities and two other Chinese brokerages as well as the Wall Street behemoth including JPMorgan Chase and Barclays. The placement was the biggest equity capital market transaction in China last year and the second largest follow-on deal globally in the same year, according to data from the financial markets platform Dealogic.
In early February, CATL was reported to list in Switzerland in forms of issuing the global depository receipt (GDR) as early as May earlier this year, and it could even increase the size from $5 billion to $8 billion depending on the market conditions. Refinitiv data showed $5 billion would easily make the deal the top GDR listing by a Chinese firm in Switzerland.
CATL told CSRC proceeds of the GDR deal would used to fund its expansion plans in Europe, including a facility in Hungary, and its expansion in U.S. is also likely benefited, according to Reuters’ sources.
CATL has a steady overseas expansion despite ongoing national security concern over Chinese firms in the West. The Shanghai-listed company received the permit from the German government in last April to build its first overseas plant to make batteries. It planned to initially achieve the annual capacity of 8 GWh and create 1,500 jobs when the cell production in CATT started. With investment of up to 1.8 billion euros in total, it is scheduled to increase the production capacity to 14 GWh and total local jobs created up to 2,000 jobs in the future.
The battery maker since then has been accelerating capacity expansion in Europe, a homeland for many traditional auto giants. It announced in August to invest 7.34 billion euros to build a 100 GWh battery plant in Debrecen of east Hungary, its second battery plant in Europe. The move is expected to better cope with demands in European market and improve CATL’s global production network development as the new plant is located in the heart of Europe, and with close proximity to some auto plants of its customers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Stellantis and Volkswagen. Just a month later, Matthias Zentgraf, CATL’s regional president in Europe, revealed his company was considering building the third facility to produce electric vehicle-used batteries in Europe. In December, CATL achieved a milestone: Contemporary Amperex Technology Thuringia GmbH (CATT), its first plant in Europe as well as the first one outside of China, kicked off serial production of lithium-ion battery cells as scheduled.