Despite being a relative newcomer to the new-energy-vehicle field China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group is laying out a grand blueprint. It aspires to go head-to-head with new-energy vehicle pathfinder Tesla, Inc.
As part of the charge forward the electric-car manufacturing unit of property developer China Evergrande Group is raising up to HK$4 billion ($516 million) through the sale of 176.6 million shares, according to a company statement earlier this week.
The shares will be offered at HK$22.65 - 18% below its average price over the past few trading days. The shares account for around 2% only of the company's enlarged total outstanding shares upon completion, Evergrande New Energy said in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange.
New-energy vehicles are known for burning money in early development, experts say. Tesla, the world's largest but loss-making electric-car manufacturer, reported an annual profit only this year.
During the first half of the year Evergrande New Energy spent 3 billion yuan ($444.0 million) on research and development in the electric-vehicle field and will spend another 2.7 billion yuan by the end of the year. From 2019 to 2021 the company's budget for new-energy-vehicle research and development was 29.4 billion yuan, according to a statement by chief executive officer Pan Darong.
Some of China's leading investment players, including Tencent Holdings Ltd., Jack Ma-backed Yunfeng Capital, Sequoia Capital and Didi Chuxing Technology Co., are among the six buyers of the private placement. Evergrande New Energy Vehicle said none will become a major shareholder in the company.
Analysts said it was no surprise internet company Tencent and Didi Chuxing showed interest. Tencent reportedly bought 8.1675 million shares of Tesla in 2017 at $217.67 a share - becoming Tesla's fifth largest shareholder. As of 2019, Didi Chuxing reported having 969,000 electric cars for sale.
China's domestic new-energy-vehicle sales in August climbed 11.7% to 109,000 compared with a month earlier - bringing sales so far this year to 596,000 units, according to statistics released by China Association Automobile Manufacturers.
In June last year Evergrande Group started producing its first electric vehicles for the burgeoning new-energy-vehicle market.
As of August, Evergrande New Energy Vehicle released its first six Hengchi model new-energy vehicles in Shanghai and Guangzhou. These included two sedans, three SUVs and one compact multipurpose vehicle model for multiple customer segments. Hengchi new-energy vehicles are expected to enter mass production soon.
The group plans to reach an annual capacity of 1 million cars within five years through development with intelligent manufacturing technology.
Evergrande Group is China's second-largest property developer by sales. As China's property market slows from the growth of recent years the company has been expanding into motor vehicles. It has become the majority investor in Sweden supercar brand Koenigsegg, Reuters reported.
"The new energy automobile industry has a huge market prospect. Evergrande has completed the entire industrial chain layout in the field of new energy vehicles," its chairperson Hui Kayan said last year.
Evergrande New Energy Vehicle has reportedly acquired cutting-edge foreign technology, intellectual property, a battery producer and distribution networks domestically and overseas since 2018.
Before attracting this latest investment Evergrande New Energy Vehicle reportedly had to raise additional capital by selling two wholly owned subsidiaries to Jinbi Real Estate Co., Ltd., for 47.541 million yuan.
For the rest of the year domestic new-energy vehicles sales might dominate the market but by next year more joint ventures will arrive, China Passenger Car Association secretary Cui Dongshu said.