On May 4, Tianqi Lithium, a Chinese mining and manufacturing company, denied rumors that it was considering investing in Smart Automobile, stating to Cailian Press that “we have no information to disclose on this matter.” Geely Holding Group, a shareholder of Smart, responded by saying “there is no relevant information.”
Insiders told Bloomberg that Tianqi Lithium is considering purchasing a minority stake in Smart for an investment amount of approximately $100 million to $200 million. The negotiations are currently underway and will be part of the latest round of private financing for Smart. “We have no comment on the speculation from the media,” said a senior executive at Smart to Cailian Press.
In January 2020, Geely Holding Group and Mercedes-Benz formed the global joint venture company Smart Automobile Co., Ltd (Smart) to jointly operate and promote the transformation and upgrading of the smart brand worldwide. The headquarters of this joint venture company is located in Ningbo Hangzhou Bay New Area with marketing centers established in China and Germany respectively. Previously, there were reports indicating that Smart was considering non-public fundraising with a financing scale ranging from $500 million to $1 billion. It was reported that smart’s valuation is about $5 billion, which may attract interest from other automakers and strategic investment funds.
Data shows that 4,390 units of Smart #1 were delivered in China this April. As of April 30, a total number of 26,299 units had been delivered on the Chinese market so far this year. Prior to Auto Shanghai on April 17, Smart’s second model, Smart #3, made its global debut. It is expected to be launched in China first around June this year while deliveries start simultaneously.
Not only Tianqi Lithium but also other companies such as Ganfeng Lithium, Sunwoda and others are looking to extend their investment portfolio into the new energy vehicle sector. In addition to investing in Zeekr and Avatr, CATL also became a shareholder of Dongfeng’s Voyah last year. In 2017, Gotion Hi-Tech invested 10 million yuan for BAIC’s B round financing.