Beijing Auto set for 10b yuan HK listing next year
Timing of IPO to raise cash for 'world-class' cars will depend on market sentiment
Beijing Automotive Group is looking to list its passenger car unit in Hong Kong next year in a bid to raise 10 billion yuan to produce "world-class" Beijing-brand cars.
Group chairman Xu Heyi disclosed the plan at Tianjin's World Economic Forum yesterday, saying it sought to finalise details of the initial public offering before the end of this year. But he said the listing would not necessarily go ahead in the first half of 2013.
"It depends on the market," Xu said. "The current market is not good."
John Zeng, an analyst from LMC Automotive, said the plan was the right move for the state-owned carmaker, one of the few that hasn't gone public.
"A lot of other mainland carmakers have long used IPOs as a channel to raise capital for the acquisition of technology," Zeng said.
It was "a quick way for local carmakers to upgrade their products' quality as it would have taken too long and to much investment to develop models on their own."
The Beijing-based group, which produces cars with Hyundai and Daimler on the mainland, launched its first local model in three decades in March - a subcompact of the E-series built on the platform of Daimler's Smart For Four.
The market speculated Daimler may eventually sell the technology of its old E-series to its joint-venture partner.
Beijing Auto, the fifth largest local auto group in China in terms of sales, has planned a strong comeback after its production of Beijing sedans ended in the early 80s in light of financial woes and a shift to co-operation with foreign partners.
The group will launch three more Beijing-brand models this year based on the technology it acquired from the failed Swedish carmaker SAAB in late 2009.
Xu said China's homegrown brands - which have seen their market share on the mainland continue to shrink against their foreign counterparts in the past two years - needed government help.
But he did not expect any stimulus measures would be announced until the change of leadership was completed.