(Yicai Global) March 19 -- Shanghai NIO Automobiles Co. denied speculation that it is preparing for initial public offering in the U.S., calling such reports pure rumor, news outlet Changjiangtimes.com reported.
NIO will not make any further comment on the matter, said Zhu Jiang, vice president of the company's user development division, in response to reports suggesting that Chinese electric vehicle startup has hired eight banks for the U.S. IPO worth up to USD2 billion.
"NIO has put all its efforts on the delivery of intelligent electric 7-seat SUV (ES8) model," Zhu added.
To secure funding for the development of autonomous driving and battery technologies, NIO has hired Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and UBS AG to help with its listing in the U.S. this year, Reuters News Agency reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter, last month.
A valuation of USD2 billion would make it the biggest initial public offering by a Chinese company in the U.S. since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. secured USD25 billion in 2014.
The bookings for NIO ES8 in Wuhan has exceeded that of Tesla's in the capital of central Hubei province, said Qin Lihong, president of the Shanghai-based electric carmaker. However, NIO has yet to deliver a vehicle despite it was founded three years ago.
Set up by internet entrepreneur William Li and Qin in 2014, the Shanghai-based automaker may float as early as this year, other media reports said in December. NIO, which has glitzy showrooms in major Chinese cities, has begun taking pre-orders and expects to start deliveries in the second half of the year despite concerns over possible delays.
The company has already secured CNY14.3 billion (USD2.25 billion) through four rounds of funding. It had 56 investors at the end of last year. NIO's six initial backers were founder Li, Pony Ma of Tencent Holdings Ltd., Liu Qiangdong of JD.Com Inc., Lei Jun of Xiaomi Inc., Hillhouse Capital Management Ltd.'s Zhang Lei, and Li Xiang of Beijing Chehejia Information Technology Co.