Battery Giant CATL Supports IPOs of Raw Material Suppliers

With the development of the new energy vehicle market, the number of listed enterprises with operations in the lithium industry is increasing. As a global battery leader, CATL has supported the public listing targets of its own raw material suppliers. Gradually, a capital circle of listed companies with CATL at the core has formed.

In 2022, CATL has been among the top five customers of many lithium-related enterprises that have already listed or are in the process of conducting an IPO, such as cathode material enterprises Hunan Yuneng and Wanrun New Energy, electrolyte additive enterprise HSC Corporation, copper foil enterprise Defu Technology, ultrasonic equipment enterprise SBT Ultrasonic Technology and so on.

Batteries are mainly composed of positive electrode materials, negative electrode materials, electrolytes and diaphragms. Amid a surge in lithium industry chain expansion, enterprises in the upper and middle reaches are benefiting significantly.

A representative positive electrode material enterprise is Hunan Yuneng. According to Gaogong Lithium’s data, Hunan Yuneng’s market share in the lithium iron phosphate cathode material field reached 25% in 2021. It submitted a prospectus in September 2021 and filed for registration in August 2022. From January to June 2022, its largest customer was CATL, with sales revenue from CATL reaching 6.265 billion yuan ($880 million), accounting for 44.46% of its total revenue.

Lithium iron phosphate batteries use much more vinylene carbonate than ternary batteries, leading to a huge increase in lithium capacity utilization rate and an IPO plan by HSC Corporation. According to the company’s prospectus, its vinylene carbonate capacity utilization rate in 2019, 2020 and 2021 was 66.86%, 72.01% and 103.94%, respectively. In 2021, CATL was its fifth-largest customer, generating 9.75% of sales revenue.

During the IPO of lithium industry chain enterprises, CATL has not only served as a customer, but also as an investor.

In December 2020, Hunan Yuneng introduced its main customer, CATL, as a strategic investor, which further deepened the cooperative relationship. CATL’s direct shareholding ratio reached 10.54% as the third-largest shareholder.

In addition, the Changjiang Chendao (Hubei) New Energy Industry Investment Partnership holds a 4.49% stake in Hunan Yuneng, making it the seventh-largest shareholder. Through a wholly-owned subsidiary, CATL holds 15.87% of the partnership firm.

The National Business News found that CATL indirectly invested in many listed enterprises through Changjiang Chendao. Camelot Electronics Technology, which is mainly engaged in the R&D, production and sales of printed circuit boards (PCB), is the largest PCB supplier of CATL. Changjiang Chendao is its fourth-largest shareholder. CATL is also the largest customer of Darbond Technology, which is engaged in high-end electronic packaging materials, while Changjiang Chendao is its 11th-largest shareholder.

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In addition, CATL and its rival BYD have recently been closely linked to a company preparing to go public. At the end of June this year, lithium-ion battery automation equipment provider Xinyuren Technology’s listing application was accepted. Yang Zhiming, founder of Xinyuren, worked at BYD many years ago, and BYD was one of Xinyuren’s top five customers in 2020 and 2021. The prospectus disclosed that orders for Xinyuren are worth more than 200 million yuan ($28.12 million), including 90.54 million yuan from BYD and 288.35 million yuan from CATL.