HONG KONG — CATL’s plan to raise at least $5 billion in Swiss global depository receipts (GDR) has been delayed as Beijing regulators raise concerns over the large scale of the offering, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The world’s largest battery maker, formally known as Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (CATL), had expected to receive a green light for the listing in Zurich from the Chinese securities regulator by the end of January, said one of the sources. But the process is taking longer than expected, all three sources told Reuters.
The delay has come to light a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping told CATL that he had mixed feelings about its status as the biggest player in a soaring business tracking the rise of electric vehicles around the world.
Xi’s comments came in a rare public intervention about one of China’s most globally competitive sectors.
In a response to a presentation by CATL’s Chairman Robin Zeng on the sidelines of China’s annual parliament meeting last week, Xi was quoted by official media as saying that he was “both happy and worried” – glad about CATL’s industry-leading position, but concerned about the risks as the company expands rapidly overseas and moves to undercut domestic rivals.
CATL, worth about $139 billion by market value and now expanding in Germany and the United States, already controls 37 percent of the global battery market, according to its 2022 annual report.
The Chinese company supplies auto giants like Tesla, Volkswagen Group and BMW.
The company has told the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), whose approval for the listing is required, that it plans to use the proceeds to fund its European expansion plans, especially the development of a plant in Hungary, one source said, and potentially also finance its expansion in the U.S.
CATL said in August it would build a 7.3 billion euro ($7.6 billion) battery plant in Hungary, Europe’s largest so far, as the supplier gears up to meet growing demand from global automakers.
In early February, sources said CATL aimed to go ahead with the listing as early as May. There is no new timetable for the deal to proceed, according to the sources, who said they could not be named as they were discussing private information.
The CSRC did not immediately comment when contacted by Reuters.
CATL did not respond to a request for comment.