Guangdong-based Xpeng Motors has been granted a 12.8 billion yuan (US$1.98 billion) credit line by Chinese state-owned banks.
The company, one of three Chinese electric vehicle (EV) start-ups viewed as potential rivals to Tesla, said that it had secured credit from five lenders – Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), Bank of China (BOC), China Construction Bank (CCB), China Citic Bank and Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank.
The credit line comes after Xpeng raised more than US$5 billion in pre-initial public offering (IPO) financing, an IPO and a follow-on offering in the second half of 2020. It suggests that the Chinese central as well as local governments are ramping up support for leading players in an industry where Beijing wants a front-runner position.
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“The top domestic EV makers will be encouraged to spend more on the development of their own technologies,” said Wang Feng, chairman of Shanghai-based financial services group Ye Lang Capital. “I expect more loans will be extended to those top EV players after the 12.8 billion yuan credit facilities.”
Under Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” industrial master plan, EVs are one of the 10 significant sectors in which China seeks a front-running position worldwide. It aims to have several home-grown companies become global powerhouses with their own technological strengths.
Xpeng raised US$900 million in a pre-IPO deal before it netted US$1.7 billion in an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in August last year. Last month, it completed a fundraising of about US$2.5 billion in a follow-on offering, the biggest of its kind by a mainland company listed in the US.
In the quarter ending September, its net losses widened to 1.15 billion yuan from 776 million yuan a year ago, because of increasing expenditure on sales and the construction of Xpeng-branded super charging stations.
But its gross margin stood at 4.6 per cent for the quarter, compared with minus 10.1 per cent for the same period in 2019, amid efforts to control manufacturing, logistics and labour costs.
None of the Chinese companies viewed as challenging Tesla – Xpeng, Nio and Li Auto – have been profitable so far. Xpeng’s deliveries in 2020 more than doubled from a year earlier to 27,041 units, but it still lagged behind Nio’s sales of more than 43,700 cars.
Gang Meng, a ratings director at Golden Credit Rating, said the risk of default is high among emerging EV companies but the leading players, which have obtained substantial support from the government and powerful shareholders, are clients that state-owned banks will target.
In July last year, China’s big four lenders, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, CCB, BOC and ABC, granted a 10.4 billion yuan credit line to Shanghai-based Nio to boost operations at its plant in Hefei in Anhui province.
The money gives these companies a cash cushion as competition escalates in the world’s largest EV market. Moreover, the fresh funds will allow these companies to counter any potential disruption and risks to their US listings if President Donald Trump throws up more obstacles in the remaining days of his presidency.
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