China Evergrande's EV unit scraps IPO plan while CNOOC, Dongfeng Motor unveil new domestic stock offerings

China Evergrande Group, halted work on certain projects, from sinking under 1.97 trillion yuan, regulatory filing, Dongfeng Motor Group

China Evergrande Group hit another bump on the road to ease its liquidity crisis after abandoning a plan to float its car-making unit at home. At the same time, oil explorer CNOOC Limited and Dongfeng Motor unveiled their new listing aims.

The indebted developer’s car-making unit, known as Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group, will no longer proceed with its domestic share offering after “due and careful consideration,” according to an exchange filing late Sunday.

The proposed listing on Shanghai’s board for technology companies, known as the Star Market, was first mooted a year ago to fund its ambitions: to take on the likes of Tesla and dominate the local and global electric vehicle (EV) market within three to five years.

The EV firm – and its cash-strapped parent China Evergrande Group – have instead fallen on hard times, running down its cash before selling its first car. It has delayed payments to suppliers and contractors and halted work on certain projects, according to a filing late Friday. Its market value has evaporated by US$84 billion from the peak in mid-April.

That is just one small part of the troubles brewing at its Shenzhen-based parent company. Founder Hui Ka-yan is racing against time to prevent his indebted property empire from sinking under 1.97 trillion yuan (US$305 billion) of liabilities. A September 23 deadline for an interest payment on an offshore bond passed without an update and some money managers expect an eventual default.

It’s a lot brighter at CNOOC, the Hong Kong-listed unit of China’s biggest oil explorer. The firm is seeking to sell 2.6 billion new yuan-denominated shares in Shanghai, six months after it was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

Pricing for the offering would be determined following offline investor price inquiries, the company said in a Hong Kong regulatory filing on Sunday. The stake would represent 5.82 per cent of its share capital.

CNOOC could raise 25.5 billion yuan (US$3.94 billion), assuming its A shares are sold at 9.82 yuan apiece, or 47 per cent above its current stock price of HK$8.07 on Friday. That is the average premium of A shares over so-called H shares of Chinese companies with listings on both markets.

For the record, China Telecom raised 54.2 billion yuan in its Shanghai listing in August by pricing its domestic shares at 86 per cent premium above its so-called H shares. The premium currently stands at 103 per cent.

CNOOC, based in Beijing, was one of four Chinese companies with listings in Hong Kong and New York to have their shares delisted from New York following a November 2020 executive order by former US president Donald Trump. The others were China Unicom, China Mobile and China Telecom.

The oil explorer raised US$15.4 billion in February 2001 initial public offering on the NYSE, in what was then the third-biggest fundraising in the global oil industry. A week after their New York listing, CNOOC’s shares were listed in Hong Kong in a HK$11.2 billion (US1.4 billion) IPO.

The NYSE reversed its decision several times before ultimately delisting the telecoms companies in January. CNOOC Limited was delisted in March.

Where Evergrande NEV failed, Dongfeng Motor Group may stumble too. The carmaker based in Wuhan in central Hubei province has decided to make a “strategic adjustment” to alter its domestic listing plan after also assessing market situations.

The company has proposed to sell 957.3 million yuan-based shares on the main board in Shenzhen, or 10 per cent of its existing capital, subject to an upsize to 15 per cent on demand, according to another late Sunday Hong Kong exchange filing.

While its original plan to list on the smaller GEM board was approved by the Shenzhen exchange in December, it has yet to obtain the approval for the registration from the China Securities Regulatory Commission, without elaborating.

The carmaker is seeking to bolster its cash to fund a new brand of high-end new energy passenger vehicles project, new-generation vehicles and technological development projects and replenishing its working capital.

Dongfeng shares last traded at HK$6.97 in Hong Kong, having declined 18 per cent since the start of the year.

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